Real life carer stories

Being a carer can be very rewarding but it has varied and significant impacts on other areas of carers’ lives.

Carers’ own stories often offer the best insights into issues affecting carers and into how much support in a caring role can improve outcomes for carers, their families and the person or people they care for.

VOCAL gathers and shares these stories here, we try to use a range of video, audio and written stories. Newer stories appear to the top of the page.

VOCAL25 – Victor – Mental Health

Victor cares for his partner Sean whose mental illness developed some time into their relationship dramatically changing both their lives.

He talks to us about the impact becoming Sean’s carer has had on their relationship.

VOCAL25 – Pat – perspectives after caring


Pat supported her partner John after he had a stroke shortly after retiring. He moved from the hospital to a care home where he lived for a further 4 years. All their plans for retirement were thrown out of the window.

Pat has volunteered with VOCAL for several years, even – memorably – abseiling the Forth Bridge to raise money for us in 2011. Since John’s death she’s also travelled widely and become an author. She kindly agreed to share her perspective on becoming a carer and its impact.

Download Pat’s story

VOCAL25 – Tam – Short Breaks

Tam cares for his wife Kate who is living with hereditary spastic paraplegia, a degenerative condition which severely limits her mobility.

He talks to us about realising he was a carer, finding support to take a break, and how important that has been to them both.

VOCAL25 – Fiona – mindfullness


Fiona cares for her husband who is living with a range of conditions which impair his cognitive functions and cause him pain. She also cares for her Mum who is currently being assessed for a dementia diagnosis.

Fiona talks to us about the daily demands of her caring role, its impact on her own health and wellbeing, and how helpful she finds the mindfulness techniques which she learned through VOCAL. You can listen to the conversation below.

Joan, Sandra & Mary – substance abuse and relationships


Joan, Sandra & Mary each care for family members who have problematic substance use.

They talk to us over coffees about the impact of their loved ones’ addictions, and about what helps them cope. You can listen to the conversation below.

VOCAL25 – Christina – Health

Christina is a serial carer, having had various caring roles over the course of her life. Most recently she cares for her mother-in-law who is a stroke survivor living with dementia.

Christina talks to us about the impact caring had on her health and wellbeing, and in particular how VOCAL’s health surgeries have helped.

VOCAL25 – Grace – changing relationships

Grace cares for her husband who is living with vascular dementia and Alzheimers.

She talks to us about the journey to recognising herself as a carer, and about the impact her caring role has had on her relationship.

VOCAL25 – “Pete” – changing relationships


Pete (not his real name) cares for his partner, a person with an alcohol problem.

Pete asked that we conceal his identity, but – like our other carers – wanted to share his experience to help others in similar circumstances to feel less alone. He spoke to VOCAL about the impact of his caring role, and you can listen to the conversation below.

VOCAL25 – Patrick – Self Directed Support


Patrick is 78, he cares for his wife Claire who is living with Multiple Sclerosis which gives her significant mobility issues and various personal care needs, including incontinence.

Download Patrick’s story

VOCAL25 – Ann – then & now

Ann and her husband cared for her mother-in-law and father-in-law as they lived with dementia.

20 years later Ann now cares for her husband after he was diagnosed with Primary Progressive Aphasia, indicating the onset of dementia.

Ann shared with us her unique perspective of caring now in comparison to caring 20 years ago.

VOCAL25 – Peer Mentoring – Euan/h3>
As part of our 25th anniversary project, Euan Kennedy – one of VOCAL’s volunteer peer mentors – talked to us about his own experience of being a carer, getting informal peer support at VOCAL, and deciding to become one of our peer mentors.

VOCAL25 – Peer Mentoring – Nicky

As part of our 25th anniversary project, Nicky Gavin – one of VOCAL’s volunteer peer mentors – talked to us about her own experience of being a carer, getting informal peer support at VOCAL, and deciding to become one of our peer mentors.

VOCAL25 – carers & careers – Wendy & Tosh

As part of VOCAL’s 25th anniversary we talk to Wendy & Tosh White about their complex caring roles and the impact on their careers.

Monica’s story:

How VOCAL supported and empowered Monica, who looks after her disabled daughter.

Roan’s story:

How a supportive employer enabled Roan to continue working while caring for his partner.

Cath’s story:

Overcoming the financial, emotional and physical challenges of being a carer through individual and group support.

Anne’s story:

Slowly everything changes – caring for a loved one affected by dementia.

Ramona’s story:

Juggling a caring role with work and a young family.

Gus’s story:

Caring for a family member affected by addiction.

https://youtu.be/6UCSU1HpPfY