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EVERY day Elaine Biles dedicates her time to the care and wellbeing of her husband of 44 years, Stephen.

She is one of the 62,000-strong ‘hidden army’ in Oxfordshire who care for a family member, friend or neighbour.

But the 62-year-old from Shipton-under-Wychwood would not have it any other way.

After giving up her full-time job as a hairdresser five-and-a-half years ago, Mrs Biles is now the primary carer for her 70-year-old husband, who was diagnosed with fronto-temporal dementia seven years ago.

She said: “I do everything for him really, he will wake up in the morning and say: ‘Shall we get up darling?’ and I then take him to the toilet, get his breakfast ready and make sure he takes his tablets.

“He tells me he loves me all the time and sometimes he will just look at me with a glint in his eye, and I still see him.

“He is my husband, of course I would do this and I would not have it any other way.

“I have no regrets at all about having to give up work because I need to make sure he is getting the best possible care and I know that I am doing that for him.”

Last year Mrs Biles was taken by surprise when she was nominated and went on to win the Unpaid Carer accolade at Age UK Oxfordshire's Dignity in Care Awards.

The mum-of-two added: “I was in total shock, I had no idea that I was going to be nominated for it let alone win it.

“What I am doing here is just what I think is expected and I just do it.

“It was lovely to be recognised as a good carer.”

She was nominated by her friends at the charity Young Dementia UK, who recognised her ‘dedication and affection’ to her husband’s needs.

In the nomination they wrote: “Elaine’s enthusiastic approach to life is unwavering and refreshing.

“Her indomitable spirit, perseverance, compassion, courage and unfailing good humour in the face of adversity is wondrous and humbling.

“The joy this remarkable lady finds in things that many of us take for granted is inspirational, motivates me to be a better person and appreciate that all we have at any given moment is whatever the moment holds.”

But the 24-hour care Mr Biles needs does not come without its challenges.

Mrs Biles added: “When I take him to the doctors, I sign us in reception and then we will have to wait in my car until we get a tap on the window to say we go in.

“He just does not understand that you have to wait, so by taking him straight into the doctors he thinks he will see someone straight away.

“And then because people cannot physically see his dementia they all start staring when he gets worked up that he can’t go in.

“That is what really upsets me.”

Head of carer support at Carers Oxfordshire, Kay Francis, said the responsibility people like Mrs Biles carry is nothing short of amazing.

She added: “For those caring for a loved one they do not it as a job or a responsibility, they are doing this because they love them.

“And their dedication to someone else is truly amazing and I know for a lot of them they take great joy in being able to give someone that level of care.

“But caring for someone is hard and asking for help and support is not a failure, it is why we are here.

“And is it also why the Dignity in Care Awards are so important, because we need to celebrate a group of people whose work and dedication goes unrecognised.”

Nominations for this year's Dignity in Care Awards, which are supported by the Oxford Mail, close on Monday, October 2.

For more information visit ageuk.org.uk/oxfordshire/news--campaigns/dignityincare