The life of Warwickshire farmer Frank Badger was turned upside down following a stroke and the death of his wife. Here, Frank, who also spoke at R.A.B.I’s annual conference, shares his personal story.
By Frank Badger
I have been a farmer all of my life. I have mainly farmed sheep but have also worked with pigs and cattle. I was first referred to R.A.B.I last year.
I had been caring for my wife for many years as she suffered from dementia. I did this whilst continuing to farm. Sadly, my wife recently passed away. I had mentioned to one of her carers that I did not know what I would do when I went in for the hip replacement operation that I had been advised that I needed. I had been putting this off as I did not know what would happen with my wife.
Caroline, from R.A.B.I contacted me and we arranged to meet at the farm. She took all of my details and we discussed the farm. We also talked about what was worrying me. Caroline contacted Social Services and got the ball rolling to arrange a care package for my wife while I was in hospital. We also talked about the cost of a shepherd to keep the farm going. In addition, she asked me about my wife’s income and advised me that she should be entitled to a benefit because of her care needs. Caroline requested the form and came back another day to complete it with me. My wife was then awarded this. This is something that I would never have known about.
R.A.B.I gave me a grant to pay for a shepherd and this, together with Caroline’s discussions with Social Services, meant that I could book in for my long awaited pre-operation appointment. This was a huge relief to me.
However, I did not make this appointment. I was still working on the farm when I suffered a major stroke. I was in hospital for around four months. I was told that I may not walk again and my wife had to be taken into residential care. While I was in hospital Caroline visited me to complete some more forms. It meant a lot to me to know that R.A.B.I’s support was still there at such a terrible time.
My family kept the farm going and later in the year I was given a further grant to allow the shepherd to continue working. R.A.B.I also arranged for a farm secretary from the Institute of Agricultural Secretaries and Administrators (IAgSA) to visit me as my paperwork was, unsurprisingly, not up to date.
When I came home from hospital Caroline visited me to complete some Personal Independence Payment forms. These forms are long at the best of times, but I was unable to write or to see the print because of my stroke. I find the system to be an absolute minefield and so I was very happy to have Caroline’s help. She also came back another day for the Personal Independence Payment medical assessment that I had been worried about. This was a great reassurance to me as I had a lot to deal with at this time as I kept getting very ill from infections. On the same day as the medical assessment the farm secretary, Charlotte, visited so it was all systems go.
I cannot tell you how relieved I was about this as we had an inspection for the SFP the following week and I would have been fined a lot if that secretary had not been provided. She was lovely and did some great work. Caroline still visits me and it means such a lot to stay in touch with R.A.B.I as their support is so important.
I have so much respect for all of the people who work hard to raise money for R.A.B.I. I cannot thank you enough and cannot tell you what it has meant to me to have a safety net. I don’t know what my future in farming will be, but I would love to keep going at some level.
Time will tell but the support that I have been given helps me to stay positive.