The care system in this country is often maligned and regularly taken for granted.
I feel compelled to offer an alternative view and share my experience.
My wife of 50 years recently passed away after a long battle with dementia. For the past four years I have relied upon the support of regular home visits from care professionals, latterly five visits daily.
This support and a wide array of equipment was provided free of charge by our social services department.
The carers themselves, of which there have been many, were not only always professional and competent, but, just as importantly, were always friendly, respectful and compassionate.
Their upbeat, yet down-to-earth approach to life ensured they became far more than a source of much-needed care for my wife, but they also became a source of great strength and companionship for myself in my unenviable role as full-time carer.
Their regular visits were often the highlight of my day and I dread to think how I would have coped without the certainty that it was never going to be too long before I would be welcoming them again into my home.
I cannot thank them enough for the support and emotional strength they provided during what has been an incredibly difficult few years. They have been simply wonderful and are a credit to our care system.
Their jobs may not be glamorous and will certainly not make them rich, but in my book they perform a role that is as invaluable as any other I can think of.
If the real test of society is the way in which we care for those who need most help, then in my experience we are doing pretty well.
The care system and, more specifically, the wonderful carers themselves should be something for us to be proud about and celebrate, and most certainly not take for granted.