"I've been a chartered accountant since 1965, and as I got older, I started to think about CABA - particularly in terms of my wife. I found comfort in the fact that if I died before her, she would be able to approach them if she needed help and support.
But in 1999 I took early retirement to care for my wife. She had been suffering from emphysema for some time and we had been told it was terminal. They said she probably had 4 or 5 years, but we were actually a lot more fortunate than that. I didn't lose her until nearly 14 years after I had taken early retirement.
However, becoming a carer had financial consequences. Over the years our savings depleted and this, along with the collapse of my pension fund meant that my income became increasingly restricted.
Gradually my own health started to deteriorate. I avoided having treatment because of needing to be able to look after my wife, but that meant I was in a lot of pain for quite some time.
I lost my wife to cancer in 2013 and I moved to be closer to my daughter. The pain in my joints became unmanageable and in the end I couldn't put off surgery. I had to have both shoulders and both hips replaced. Medical staff made it clear that it would not be safe for me to use my bath or shower at home for fear of injury.
I knew that a wet-room was probably the best option but I couldn't see how I was going to fund such substantial household adaptations. But I had met a CABA representative at a social event who had said that CABA welcomes contact from ICAEW members in need of assistance, so I gave them a call.
From the very beginning I was made to feel comfortable - they were very sympathetic. I got on well with the Support Officer I was allocated and over time I came to feel that I had made a new friend. It was actually very easy to explain my situation and then to complete a grant application. CABA approved the grant and they helped to find a local contractor to carry out the work. They also supported me in putting together the job specification and managing the adaptations too. It really took the pressure off me - and I was able to deal with the situation without troubling my daughters.
The wet room is a tremendous success and I can now bathe safely at home. It has meant that I can continue to live independently in my own home. CABA's assistance has given me back my independence and my dignity. I would not hesitate to recommend CABA to others in difficulty."
How CABA can help
CABA supports the wellbeing of past and present ICAEW members, ACA students, ICAEW staff members, and their spouses, partners and children up to the age of 25. For advice, information and support please contact us.