iPlayer Radio What's New?
Listen
On Now : Summer Nights
Series 2 - 1. Social media - does the retweet empower us?
Image for Caring Too Much

Listen now 30 mins

Listen in pop-out player

Last on

Mon 12 Sep 2011 15:00 BBC Radio 4

Duration:
30 minutes
First broadcast:
Monday 22 August 2011

Julie Fernandez, a disabled actor best known for her role in The Office as the 'Woman in a Wheelchair' explores the complex relationship between disabled child and parent carer.

Julie has brittle bone disease and Julie's mother cared for her through more than seventy operations and considerable pain. Always strict, she made Julie help with housework even when encased in full body plaster, fought to get her into a boarding school and encouraged her independence. So Julie was not prepared for what happened when she left home to get married. For several months her mother wouldn't speak to her.

Inspired by her experience Julie undertakes a personal journey into what happens when parents care too much? Funny, frank and very challenging she talks to parents and their adult dependent children when as one mother put it 'two become one.'

She explores the different issues for parents of children with physical disabilities compared to those with learning difficulties. Jenny's story is typical: she is 68 and still caring for 47 year old Simon who is autistic and has schizophrenia. "I have never stopped to think have I missed out, because I haven't missed out on Simon, he's lovely..its a privilege to have had him." However desperate the individual circumstances parents echo this sentiment again and again.

But the issues around separation are complex. One mother whose 27 year old son requires round the clock care confessed that the year he left home to start a job in London was the worst of her life. It caused her profound grief, despite her pride at his achieving all she had dreamed of for him, and more.

Finally Julie returns to her mother to reflect on their experiences anew. Their journey also involved seemingly insurmountable obstacles but was overcome by courage and love.

Producer: Hilary Dunn
A Loftus Audio production for BBC Radio 4.

Broadcasts

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss