Christine and Colin Raggett had been missionaries in Botswana for many years when they contacted us through our website, www.pilgrimsfriend.org.uk, asking if any of our care homes offered respite care. In case the term is new to you, respite care is a short period of residential care that offers carers a break from their sometimes heavy routines. Often it’s because they are not able to get a good night’s sleep. This was the case with Colin’s mother, Margaret. His father Douglas, a retired pastor, had developed dementia and she desperately needed a break. He came into one of our homes and Margaret was able to sleep through the night for the first time in several years. It made so much difference: she was able to carry on caring for him for a few more years.
Sometimes, elderly people come in for short breaks to be looked after, so they can gather their strength again. Looking after your home and yourself and your husband is harder at 100 than it is at, say, 60! Olive wanted a little holiday from the housework, and from caring for Fred, 103. They came in for respite care until they decided they liked it so much they’d stay on permanently. When Fred was called Home, Olive visited her son, 76, in Austria, accompanied by a carer.
During the holiday season, an elderly parent will come in for respite care while their son or daughter goes on holiday. Older people often don’t like travelling away from home. In the very hot summer of 2003, in Paris 3000 elderly people died because their adult children deserted the city for the cooler mountain country, but the grandparents wanted to stay at home. No-one knew the temperature would soar as high as it did – but had the grandparents been in respite care they would have been alright…
Residential care homes don’t always have vacancies for respite care. But an attractive option right now is our home in the seaside town of Brighton, If you know someone who could do with a break, either as a carer, or as an elderly person who would just like holiday from the house work and so on, you might like to mention it to them.