November: Men’s Health Awareness Month – Bryan’s story

Being responsible for the day-to-day care of a loved one puts an incredible strain on a carer’s wellbeing. A recent survey by Carers’ UK revealed 72 percent of carers suffered poor mental health and 61 percent were affected physically due to the stresses of their caring role.

With November being Men’s Health Awareness Month I was curious to know how many carers are men and what impact did caring have on their health.

According to research carried out by the Carers Trust and Men’s Health Forum, more than four in 10 (42 %) of the UK’s unpaid carers are male. Fifty-six percent of male carers aged 18-64 said being a carer had a negative impact on their mental health while 55% said that their health was “fair or poor”.

Bryan was lonely after his wife moved in to a care home, but now he enjoys regular days out with the  Carers’ Centre.

Bryan is just one of the many male carers who has benefited from the Carers’ Centre’s support and well-being programme.

His wife, Jill, was diagnosed with vascular dementia and after caring for her for nearly two years, she is now in a care home, where he regularly visits.

He said: “Once Jill had gone into the home, our house became very quiet and the  evenings were extremely long.”

Bryan found he was filling his days and nights with  the TV and radio as he didn’t want to burden his family.

He said:  “I can ring the family, but I don’t want to disturb them after about half past seven, eight o’clock at night, so it became long and a little bit boring. Time can hang lonely and you can get used to being on your own and you can isolate yourself from other people.”

During the summer, the 79-year-old enjoys a weekly game of bowls, but now with winter approaching he said: “Throughout the long winter months I haven’t got that and so the time lies heavier, so this is where the Carers’ Centre comes in. I can go down and play Men’s Boccia on a Tuesday evening and can go to other bits and pieces that they are putting on.”

Besides enjoying some of the day trips, Bryan has taken part in the centre’s digital tech training, well-being walks and attends the monthly Dementia Café.

Speaking about the café , he said: “I found it a great help being in with other carers which some were in a worse state than I was.

“It’s nice to be able to offload my thoughts to them and hear their problems, and it was a huge relief for an hour-and-a-half. It was absolutely brilliant. I couldn’t believe what sort of relief I could get on that sort of thing.”

To see Bryan’s video click here

If you’re a carer, or know someone who is a carer, contact us for support.