Social care in the community
Social care in the community

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Social care in the community

1 Entering the world of social care

To give you an understanding of why people need social care and how it works, we begin with a case study. This is Ann and Angus’s story:

Activity 1 Getting to know Ann, Angus and their family

Allow about 45 minutes

To bring the subject of family care to life, you are about to listen to a case study in the form of an audio drama. This will bring out issues vividly – you’ll hear tensions mounting and be able to imagine the scenes for yourself. The people you will hear are actors but what happens is based on real lives.

Task 1 An incident on the stairs

The aim of this first part of the activity is to get yourself involved in the complexity of daily life in Ann and Angus’s family. Families provide the setting for many key life processes, so people’s experiences of caring and being cared for are always interwoven with other important strands of family life.

Listen to Audio 1. After listening, make notes in answer to the following questions:

  • What are the needs of each family member during the audio clip?
  • What is each family member feeling during the audio clip?
  • Are they happy?
Image of Ann and Angus
Download this audio clip.Audio player: Audio 1 Incident on the stairs
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Transcript: Audio 1 Incident on the stairs

Angus
Aye.
Ann
Come on, Dad. It’s just one more step.
Angus
I can do it!
Ann
Oh. You alright?
Angus
I can do it. I don’t need help. I’m all right.
Ann
Just hold on the banister. Oh. Have you got it?
Angus
Annie, Annie. I’m going to fall.
Ann
Dad? OK. Hang on to me. Hang on a minute.
Angus
Ah, help. Ah, Ah.
Ann
Are you all right Dad? Dad? Ah, no broken bones.
Angus
You made me fall! Why, why did you not hold me up?
Ann
I did, Dad, I was holding you, I just said to you to wait on the stairs for a minute!
Angus
What is happening to me, Annie? This Parkinson’s. It’s cruel. I cannae hold myself up any more.
Ann
Just hold on and I’ll get you up.
Angus
Aye. I need the …
Ann
Just put your arm around me.
Angus
I need the toilet now.
Bob
Hello? Ann? I’m back!
Ann
Bob, we’re up here! Could you give us a wee hand?
Bob
Oh for Christ’s sake, not again! Are you both all right?
Angus
You keep out of it, Bob, it’s nothing to do with you, I can look after myself.
Bob
So why are you lying on the landing?
Ann
Bob, we’ve just had a wee fall, we don’t need a row about it. Now could you just help us up please?
Bob
Ann, this is ridiculous! We’ve got to get some help for him!
Ann
Will you just give us a wee hand? We can talk about this later.
Angus
Aye, talk about me behind my back, why don’t you?
Bob
Come on, Angus, let’s get you up.
Zoe
I’m home!
Bob
That’s it, Angus, a few more steps to the bathroom. That’s it.
Zoe
I said I’m home!
Ann
Oh, hang on Zoe, we’re a wee bit tied up just now!
Zoe
Mum I failed my English.
Bob
Zoe, we’ll talk to you in a minute, all right? We’re kind of busy at the moment!
Zoe
Yous lot don’t care if I live or die! I hate you!
Ann
Oh, Zoe!
Angus
I need the toilet.
Bob
Ann, I’ve got to go out quite soon – is the tea on?
Ann
What you talking about?
Bob
I’ve got a football match.
Ann
What? I’m supposed to be meeting Cheryl!
Bob
Look I have to go, Ann! They can’t get somebody else at short notice just to fill in for me can they? It’s not my fault you’re having a bad day.
Ann
I’m not having a bad day. Look, I’ll phone Cheryl and see if I can rearrange.
Angus
I need the toilet.
End transcript: Audio 1 Incident on the stairs
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© iStockphoto.com / Juanmonino; © iStockphoto.com / wibs24
Audio 1 Incident on the stairs
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Discussion

  • Angus needs to get to the toilet. Needs physical help getting upstairs. Needs understanding of the experiences and difficulties he faces. Needs moral support.
  • Ann needs help with the physical task of supporting Angus. Needs moral support.
  • Bob needs to be greeted, to relax after work, have his tea, then go off to play football.
  • Zoe needs to be greeted – to talk about implications of failing English – have tea.
  • Angus feels frightened by sudden loss of strength or control and by his fall. Bitter about Parkinson’s. Anxious to get to the toilet. Seems hostile to Bob. Doesn’t want help from him.
  • Ann feels frightened about Angus’s fall. Anxious not to be distracted from helping him. Cross that Bob prioritises football. Frustrated by Zoe’s tantrum.
  • Bob feels frustrated that Ann continues to run such risks helping Angus. Anxious about getting to football.
  • Zoe feels anxious about failure and what her parents will think. Angry about being ignored.

It seems that no one in the family is happy, at least not at this point. This two minute insight into the family’s life demonstrates both the responsibility of caring and the negative effects it can have on people’s lives.

Now do Task 2.

Task 2 What is happening to Ann’s life?

The next audio is in two parts. In the first, the family is in the living room. In the second part, Ann meets her friend Cheryl in a pub.

Listen to Audio 2 and make notes in answer to the following questions:

  • What are the sources of tension between the family members?
  • What is Cheryl trying to achieve?
  • What is Ann’s response to Cheryl?
Image of Ann and Angus
Download this audio clip.Audio player: Audio 2 Tensions round the television – Cheryl makes Ann think
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Transcript: Audio 2 Tensions round the television – Cheryl makes Ann think

Angus
Aye, now. That’s more like it!
Zoe
Grandad!
Angus
This is what I call proper TV!
Zoe
Grandad, could you turn it down!
Bob
Angus, can I get the remote?
Zoe
Grandad, could you turn the telly down? I’m trying to do my homework!
Angus
All the local news.
Zoe
Grandad, it’s important! Dad, can you make him turn it down?
Bob
Just a minute, Zoe, it’s the football.
Zoe
Mum, they won’t let me do my homework!
Bob
Just a minute, Zoe! Angus! Can I get the remote? The football’s on!
Ann
Zoe, just go up to your room and do it.
Angus
What?
Bob
Will you give me the remote?
Zoe
Why’s it always me that has to move? Why can’t he go up to HIS room?
Ann
Zoe, have some respect for your Grandad.
Zoe
Daft old bugger.
Ann:
Zoe, that’s enough! Go to your room NOW!
Zoe
Don’t worry! I’m going!
Ann
Are you going to let her speak to her Grandad like that?
Bob
You stop her! He’s your father!
Ann
Bob, I could do with a wee bit of cooperation around here! It’s not easy with Dad!
Bob
Angus, will you give me the bloody remote?
Angus
I’m watching this. You can have it when this programme’s over!
Bob
For God’s sake Angus, it’s Rangers Celtic! You’re, you’re just being stubborn for the sake of it!
Angus
Look here, you. It’s my house, it’s my TV, it’s my remote. As long as you stay under my roof, you’ll watch what I want to watch. And if you don’t like it you can, you can get out and pay for your own lodgings.
Bob
For Christ’s sake! Ann, do you have to do that now?
Ann
Oh, it’ll only take a minute!
Angus
Annie! I cannae hear the television!
Ann
Oh for goodness’ sake, I’m going to be two minutes, when else do I get a chance to do it?
Bob
I’ve had enough of this; I’m going to Stuart’s, all right?
Angus
Can I have a wee cup of tea? Can I?
Ann
Dad, I’ll get you one in a minute! For goodness’ sake, just let me finish this off!
Angus
But I need a wee cup of tea!

[Scene Two]

Ann
Oh. Hi Cheryl!
Cheryl
Ann! How are you?
Ann
All right. Sorry I’m so late! I thought I’d never get out!
Cheryl
Well, you’re here now! Here, have a drink!
Ann
Oh brilliant. That’s just what I need to calm down. Sorry. Cheers!
Cheryl
Cheers!
Ann
Ahh. Oh, that is better. So how’s it all going?
Cheryl
Oh me? I’m doing great. Busy at work, expanding you know, missing you, though. Oh, we had some fun, didn’t we?
Ann
Aye, we did.
Cheryl
You know, they’d give you your old job back in a shot.
Ann
Ah. It’s really lovely to hear that. I wish I could. It would be like a holiday.
Cheryl
Well, why don’t you? I mean, it sounds like just what you need.
Ann
Oh, I’m all right. It’s just, going through a bit of a bad patch at the moment – you know.
Cheryl
But seriously though, what’s stopping you?
Ann
A promise that I made to my mum.
Cheryl
Oh, pet. Your mum, she was lovely but she wouldn’t have wanted you to ruin your life.
Ann
I’m not ruining my life, Cheryl! I’m just looking after my family.
Cheryl
Hey, Ann, I am on your side! I know you promised your mum you’d look after your dad. And that’s great. But you are knackered.
Ann
I know, look I’m sorry, Cheryl. I really didn’t mean to snap at you.
Cheryl
I’m your mate, that’s what mates are for. I know it’s not easy being a carer.
Ann
I’m not a ‘carer’! It’s just Dad, Bob and Zoe. And don’t forget we do live for free in Dad’s house. That’s worth quite a lot you know.
Cheryl
So what do you do for them?
Ann
Oh, you know. The usual family stuff. Cheryl, this is really boring, can we talk about something else?
Cheryl
Will you just humour me, yeah?
Ann
You know! Cooking, cleaning, things like that. You know, my dad’s not too mobile, so just help him up and down the stairs. Washing. Dressing. Toilet.
Cheryl
Hmm, that’s an awful lot, pet.
Ann
Aye, but he’s my dad. I love him.
Cheryl
Seriously, Ann, I’d say you were a full-time carer.
Ann
A full-time wife and mother. Like a lot of other women who don’t make a big deal out of it, OK? Now can we change the subject? I came out for a good time tonight.
Cheryl
Right, you’re on. Hey, look, get a load of that fellow over there. In with a chance, I reckon.
Ann
Cheryl, will you behave yourself? I’m a respectable married woman!
Cheryl
So am I! But I’m still allowed to window shop!
Ann
Oh, you’re terrible! Now go and get me another drink!
End transcript: Audio 2 Tensions round the television – Cheryl makes Ann think
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© iStockphoto.com / Juanmonino; © iStockphoto.com / wibs24
Audio 2 Tensions round the television – Cheryl makes Ann think
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Discussion

Table 1

Who and what is annoying them? Underlying reasons
Zoe Annoyed with Angus for having the television on so loud while she is doing homework – also irritated that his needs get priority. Maybe she’s worried about school failures and wants help with homework? Is she upset that Angus’s needs seem to dominate family life, and that her mother seems preoccupied by caring duties?
Bob Wants to watch football – growing irritation at Angus assuming control of television – annoyed at being expected to discipline Zoe – angered by Angus asserting ownership and suggesting he moves out. Bob has to live in his father-in-law’s house on Angus’s terms because Ann is committed to caring for him. Does he feel that if he isn’t allowed to be ‘the man’ in his own home, why take responsibility for Zoe’s discipline?
Ann The arguing gets to her – she turns on Zoe – then on Bob – then starts vacuum cleaning in frustration – annoyed with them all for not getting on together. Does she feel guilty for spending less time with Zoe and Bob than she’d like – and responsible for their frustrations with Angus? Does she worry that things are falling apart?
Angus Has few enough remaining pleasures – can’t even watch his own television in peace – inadequate son-in-law always wants to watch football and tries to throw his weight around. Is Angus in pain? Does he find company tiring and confusing – especially young people like Zoe? Is he worried Bob will lure Ann away and leave him helpless? Has he always thought Ann wasted herself on Bob?

These are only ideas – after all, it’s a fictitious case study, so anything goes. The point is to think about how much goes on below the surface of family life.

Cheryl seems worried that Ann is letting herself be ground down by her sense of duty to Angus and her promise to her mother. Cheryl wants Ann to recognise that she is a carer and needs support.

Ann resists seeing herself as a carer. She sees what she is doing as fairly normal, and thinks she ought to be able to cope.

K101_2

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