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Don't assume I have a carer just because I'm disabled

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Sometimes people ask me if I have a carer – a question which I find highly inappropriate, ableist and offensive.

Still, let’s clear this up: I live alone in London, but I do have a young woman who works for me. I don’t call her a carer, she is my personal assistant – a much more fitting job title as she assists me and allows me to be as independent as I can be in a disabling world. She doesn’t care for me – that’s the responsibility of my mother, who makes me chicken soup when I’m sick.

The idea that I’d need someone to ‘care’ for me, as one would do for children, doesn’t match the reality of my situation. She doesn’t just help out physically, she also helps me run errands and stay organised. She’s more like my confidant – we even go for drinks together.

In order to pay her, I receive 15.5 hours of Direct Payment support package a week. This is a government-funded scheme that allows the person in need of additional support to source their own PA, rather than being assigned a carer by a local authority. It’s an important distinction – I want my PA to work for........

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