Sue lives in Worthing with her husband. She’s been using the Independent Lives Care Service since 2015.

Sue used to be a carer before health issues meant that she needed to stop working.

“I was a carer for 38 years and then I developed Fibromyalgia and Osteoarthritis in my sixties. I managed without support for a few years but then my conditions progressed to a point where I couldn’t do everything on my own anymore.

Being diagnosed had a huge impact on me, at first, I thought ‘I really can’t cope with this for the next 30 years of my life’”

A social worker suggested Sue receive support from a care agency, but initially she was apprehensive

“I think being a carer myself had an impact, because I saw the affects of ageing first hand and I remember thinking to myself ‘I’m not at that stage yet’. But the more I thought about it, the more I started to reconsider.”

Sue’s personal circumstances also played a part in her decision

“My husband is disabled, so he’s unable to support me with personal care. And my daughters have their own lives. They’ve got families of their own to take care of and having your children care for you inevitably changes the dynamic of your relationship, so that influenced my decision too.”

Although she had initial concerns, once Sue started using the Independent Lives Care Service, she’s never looked back

“I’ve been with them now for, six and a half, seven years. Time goes so quickly! But they’ve been wonderful, and I’ve never had any problems. I’ve been very lucky with the carers I’ve had.

I’ve got to the stage where I don’t know what I’d do without them. They help me to get through the day, they provide so much support. And not just to me, but to my husband as well, he enjoys their company as well – it’s just so nice when they come in.”

Sue thinks her experience as a care worker has had a positive impact on her carers

“I have a good laugh with all my carers. We’ve known each other so long that I feel like I can say anything to them. We interact really well.

I think part of that is because when I was a carer, it was a pleasure to go to work. It didn’t feel like a job, it was just fun, because we all got on so well with each other and the people we cared for.

And I feel that I have the same relationship with my carers now as I did with the people I used to support.

We get on so well now that it feels like an extended family”.