When rising rugby star Ben received a life-changing injury during a game in the early 90s, he wasn’t going to let it stop him travelling, volunteering and living a full life.
But in order to do so, he’s needed round-the-clock care for the past 32 years.
Ben – who was paralysed from the chest down as a result of the tragic sporting accident – has three Komplex Care personal assistants who take turns to live in his home for 48 hours at a time. They support him with everything from personal care to picking up his teenage children from school.
The father-of-two has remained dedicated to rugby, giving up countless hours to support teams in the Midlands and beyond – and was even chosen to carry the Olympic Flame during its UK tour ahead of the London 2012 Games. Here, he reflects on what makes a good relationship between carer and client, and the service he’s received from Komplex Care since we began providing his care in 2021.
The importance of good care
“If I didn’t have live-in care, it would lead to huge frustration. This can then lead to ill mental health – because you know you could do more if you had the right support in place.
“But if that support’s not there, you think about all the things you’re missing out on.
“You want to live a life, like anyone wants to live a life. I want to contribute to my family, I want to contribute to my kids, I want to contribute to society and it’s really, really important for me to do that. Because why else am I here? That’s the question. I’m not here to make up the numbers.
“One of the most important parts of having good care is mutual respect, For the client, that’s respect for anybody willing to give up their life for a couple of days to come in and make your life exist.
“Also trust, understanding and them respecting the situation that they’re stepping into. If you’ve got all of those, you’ve got a foundation.”
What qualities does a good carer need?
“If you’re doing something you’re passionate about. You’re passionate about people, you’re passionate about enabling people, and you’re happy to sacrifice elements of your own life. Not everyone is happy to do that, it takes a certain type of person.
“Also, it helps if you’re fairly outgoing and you’re fairly stoic, because there are physical and emotional sides. You are dealing with a family, or a person one to one. It can be quite intense.”
Ben’s experience of care
“I’ve used two or three care agencies over the years, and the reason why I’ve gone with those agencies is they provide bespoke care. For me, we’re all different so we’ll all have different needs. Therefore trying to fit into one model because it suits that company – that doesn’t work with me.
“Komplex is good because they understand my needs, they understand my own personal circumstances, and for me that’s the most important thing.
“Care I think is one of the most under-rated and under-valued professions out there. I cannot tell you how much of a difference each member of my care team makes.
“Because without them, my life doesn’t happen. And that’s huge. Some people say ‘you’re just a carer’. You’re not ‘just a carer’, you’re enabling someone’s life.”