The definition suggests that it is a simple matter to recognise the carer in a given situation. In some, perhaps most, care relationships this is true. However, the case of the Durrant family is complicated. Both Arthur and Lynne are included in categories often seen as needing the services of a carer – Lynne has a learning disability, Arthur's health is impaired by illness. But both have a claim to be seen as carers, too.
Activity 4: Is Arthur a carer too?
What does Arthur do for Lynne? Does he do any of the things listed in the ‘What informal carers do’ box? (Refer to Box in Section 1.2.)
Arthur reminds Lynne that the rent is due, and writes out the cheque.
He gives her practical assistance. He manages her money. He gives her a shopping list and the cash to pay for the shopping.
He keeps her company – even though she says she doesn't want it! And he keeps her occupied, although in ways she resents.
The fact that Lynne believes she could very well do without Arthur's help does not change the fact that Arthur is also a carer in some of the ways identified in the ‘What informal carers do’ box. Indeed, he would probably recognise himself as a carer more readily than he would recognise Lynne.
On the basis of this example, it is possible to say that sometimes there is interdependence or reciprocity. People depend on one another, rather than one person always giving and the other always receiving care.