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'I wasn't a carer, I was his wife' - 600 people quit jobs every day to care for family

by Cara Bentley

The charity Carers UK are calling for employment law to take these statistics into account with five to 10 days of paid care leave.

Joye Manyan cared for her late husband and spoke on Premier Christian Radio's News Hour about the eight year commitment she kept up until he died.

She said she had already retired but "when I was informed of his illness, following a short spell in hosptial, I decided I would give up everything to look after him because I wanted him to have the best care.

"I was told that in order for me to be a very affective carer I would have to have another life - an outside life - develop some interests, so that when I was home with him I could give him that warmth and love and be an interesting person.

"I had to look after him, I told people at first I wasn't a carer, I was his wife."

Joye's husband, whom she had married 50 years ago in a church, had vascular dementia, meaning she often felt she couldn't leave him alone: "I also had to anticipate things that he would need, I had to look at him to check and see how he felt about things because he didn't have the ablilty or the capacity to speak to me and let me know how he felt. "

She explained the practical difficulties of getting him up and down stairs or into the garden but also the struggles it brought to attending church:

"It was harder to get to church and so what I had to do is that I had to get someone to help come with me,

"I wanted him to be able to be a part of the church service so we would sit together and he would listen. I know he understood but he couldn't verbally communicate how he felt."

"Having a faith did help me tremendously, we were married in a Christian church, he came from a very devout Christian family and so therefore I know that from the love I had I would share that with him and it would inspire me to do good things for him."

Joye concluded that her experience has helped her support someone else: "A few days ago I saw another person who's got a similar illness and I was able to, because of my expereince of caring for my husband, to share with that family things that they could possibly do".

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