Me Time ?


After a busy weekend Jen and I were looking forward to the start of the week.

Andy was going out with his carer to swim and our other two were back at school. The possibility of “me time” dissipated before our eyes however as we turned ourselves to paper work relating to various aspects of Andy’s care. This is another major role demanded of carers and it can be difficult on various levels. While Jen worked on checking schedules and details for adaptations to our home to ensure this project progresses I tackled the Blue Badge Renewal and the Direct Payments Audit.
The form for the Blue Badge stretched to the best part of 30 pages and what should have been a simple renewal started to get complicated. With Andy’s lifelong disability it should be recognised that the need for this resource is ongoing but because the form takes no account of cognitive disability and the difficulties and dangers arising I had to wade through a largely irrelevant assessment form. The only contact details on the renewal letter was for the council call centre where calls are filtered by people without any knowledge of the process. I had to visit our local council offices for the form because autism is not recognised as a condition that the Blue Badge can be automatically renewed online for. I persevered and completed the form as best I could and take it back to the office. The woman there was sympathetic but bound by rules that are aimed at “tightening up” the process. How recent is the photograph? How do we know Andy stays at that address? I ended up feeling the need to explain a bit about autism to the now busy waiting room. The morning ticked on. It costs £20 to apply for a Blue Badge – admin costs apparently. I made a third trip to the office with a letter to prove that Andy stays with us. We need the Badge to give us better odds on successfully keeping our precious boy safe from road traffic – a deadly threat that he has no inclination of. I submitted the form that cannot be looked at before Thursday because of another rule stating that the application cannot be made earlier than 8 weeks before the expiry of the old one. A reassessment might take 8 weeks the guidance notes inform me. Not much room for slip ups. I hope nobody is off sick or on holiday. It’s taken most of my morning to get this far.
Over lunchtime I began to tackle the Direct Payment Audit. This involves accounting for every penny that is provided to assist with Andy’s care. We are allocated 14 hours per week and this facilitates a break for a few hours a few days a week to let us catch up with the ever present laundry, housework, garden, shopping and well application forms and audits too I guess. There is no suitable school provision for Andy in our town and so these few hours are our only down time from the care role during the week and we could use them many times over. I have a new bike to put together for my other son and a trampoline to assemble for the garden that all our kids want to use. Hopefully I will get to these tasks before the summer’s past but my fishing tackle will spend yet another year in the loft.

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