Care transactions
Care transactions

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Care transactions

2 Audio clip 1: Diane Mallett

Figure 1: Diane Mallett with Stanley mallett (left) and Paul Mallett

About seven or eight years before the interview, Diane and her husband Roger arranged for his parents and brother to move next door. Roger's mother had become seriously ill with Parkinson's disease, and Diane became her main carer. For this, she received a carer's allowance, as her mother was given Attendance Allowance. She explained:

It didn't alter what I did for her. I'd have done it anyway, even without the caring allowance. You still do those things. It did make a little bit of difference to my life. It wasn't a great deal of money, though. I think it was only in the region of thirty pounds. I think she was felt that she was glad that I'd found out about it, because she had no idea it existed. And I'm sure she felt that it went some way towards phone calls that I would have made, and trips, you know, in the car … petrol expenses, that sort of thing. Sure she felt that was a good thing.

After her mother-in-law died, Diane concentrated her efforts on helping her brother-in-law, Paul, who had learning difficulties, and had led a sheltered life. She organised social activities for him to attend and supported him at events and activities, getting to know the organisers and leaders to find out what was available for him.

Paul had not previously had any Disability Living Allowance (DLA), and Diane filled out the forms and got this benefit for him. She also involved Social Services, who organised daily activities at educational centres, and ‘travel-trained’ him, making him more independent. Eventually Paul found a place at an adult Training-For-Work Centre in Birmingham. He gained skills and certificates in numeracy, literacy, computer skills, and painting and decorating. Paul had a degree of disability in his feet, for which he had only recently been assessed. He had experienced a number of falls, which Diane had helped him to recover from.

Paul wanted to leave home after his mother died, and went to a residential home. Getting this place took some time, and was a process fraught with distressing incidents. Unable to claim the higher rate of DLA, and despite an appeal to a Tribunal, he was not able to afford the residential home he originally chose. He ended up in lodging accommodation in a poor inner-city area. This proved a disaster and, for a while, he returned to live with Diane and her husband. He was finally given a place in a residential home not far away from them.

Stanley Mallett lived on his own next door to Diane and her husband. She was finding that they were getting more and more involved in his affairs. He was hard of hearing, had asthma and had been in hospital twice with chest infections. He did his own cooking, cleaning and shopping.

At one stage, Diane was looking after six people: her parents-in-law, brother-in-law and her three children, including a stepson who was on drugs as a teenager and receiving psychiatric help.

In return for the support he received, Stanley would help out where he could. Paul liked to help in the garden and always remembered birthdays. Sometimes he gave Diane money towards postage and petrol.

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Transcript: Clip 1: Interview with Diane Mallett

Helen Robinson
During her marriage, Diane Mallet has taken on significant caring responsibilities for her relatives. First she nursed her mother in law, and then she began helping her brother in law, Paul, to lead an independent life. She continues to care for her father-in-law, who lives next door.
Diane Mallet
Oh, I can't imagine being paid for it. It wouldn't actually make a great deal of difference to my life, to be paid for it, at this stage. I don't think it would have helped me make the choices that I’ve made earlier on, to know that I was being paid. I'd have felt obligated to do it, and I've done it because I've chosen to do it.
Helen Robinson
Diane feels that she's evolved a very effective relationship with her father-in-law, Stanley.
Diane Mallet
My father-in-law … his needs are becoming more great, as he gets older. He's 79 this year. And he's probably lived with us for the seven years. And, in those years, he's been a very strong member of the family group, and held things together very well. We have family meals together and, if I think that he's not, you know, eating properly, or doesn't understand hygiene or food, I will point those things out.
Don't get into his house as often as I would like to, perhaps do some cleaning. Only when he goes on holidays, I'll have a really good spring clean, and I would like to do more in that department. And he seems to manage his shopping quite well, but I think that he could do with more help, than he actually will let me do. He often feels that I do too much as it is, and it's a real battle to do more for him. But there have been times when, if we hadn't have been here and noticed situations, I don't think that he'd be here now. He's had a lot of illness. He's got bronchial asthma, and he's very hard of hearing. In fact, he's deaf without his hearing aids. So we are needed to do phone conversations, and write letters for him, and keep an eye on him generally. Stanley Mallet
To put it bluntly, she's a Dutch iron to me. Well, she's my left hand and my right hand, like, you know. Because I don't motor at all you see. As long as I've got a pair of legs, I'm happy. No, but when you say … we help each other out, like. I might send a bottle of wine over occasionally, as a sweetener. Because she won't accept anything else … and I don't drink wine. Oh we're … I think we're a good team, aren't we?
Diane Mallet
Yes, yes. We look after each other very well. If I wanted anything I'd only have to ask, wouldn't I?
Stanley Mallet
Oh aye, yes. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Diane Mallet
If we want to go away for the weekend, or for a week, on holiday, he'll always offer to have our dog. Now, we love our dog. I mean, there are situations where it isn't easy to take her … or, if we want to go out for the day, we haven't got to rush back. So that obviously saves on kennel fees. And he'll always pick up the post, and look at … you know, check up on our teenage daughter - make sure she's alright - and put the dustbins out and what have you.
End transcript: Clip 1: Interview with Diane Mallett
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