Carers across North Hertfordshire recognised as part of national awareness week

Carole Aldridge looks after her 77-year-old husband Macdonald who had a stroke just over a year ago

Carole Aldridge looks after her 77-year-old husband Macdonald who had a stroke just over a year ago - Credit: Archant

Carers across Comet country have been recognised as part of a national awareness week.

The contribution of unpaid carers is being celebrated with a series of events as businesses throw their support behind Carers Week, which began on Monday and ends this Sunday.

This year the week has been named Carers Week Quest – an initiative to encourage better collaborative working within communities and to help reach out to carers who at present do not receive support.

More than 40 businesses, organisations and GP surgeries have backed the awareness week including Sainsbury’s Hitchin branch, Garden House Hospice in Letchworth GC and The Fisherman’s pub in Stevenage.

Charitable organisation Carers in Hertfordshire currently supports approximately 12,500 carers through its NHS-funded Make a Difference service, but there are estimated to be more than 109,000 carers across the county.

Carole Aldridge, of Gaunts Way in Letchworth GC, looks after her 77-year-old husband Macdonald who had a stroke just over a year ago which has left him paralysed down his right side and in a wheelchair.

She said: “A week after celebrating our golden wedding anniversary last year, Macdonald had a stroke. It came completely out of the blue. Macdonald was always so active. We used to go ballroom dancing and had a great social life. Now we have no social life and I only get out twice a week.”

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The 71-year-old, who was given a laptop via the Make a Difference service, said: “I didn’t want to take up anything that meant being out of the house. I won’t leave him so the laptop gives me a break of sorts. It is so hard but he would do the same for me if it was the other way around.”

Carer Paulette Kane, from Stevenage, looks after her 22-year-old son who has Asperger’s syndrome, regularly visits the home her sister who has multiple sclerosis stays in and her ex-husband who has bipolar disorder.

The 57-year-old, who was provided with a camera by the service, said: “I have always loved photography and couldn’t believe it when they gave me this camera. It gives me a reason to go out every day to take wildlife photos at Fairfield Park in Bedfordshire and has kept me sane. It has been such a lifeline for me and my family.

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