What is respite care and how can it help? Meet Dorothy, a companiions success story

We all want the best for our loved ones, especially when they need increasing support and care. As fulfilling and rewarding as caring for family members can be, it can also leave caregivers having to sacrifice their own wellbeing, work responsibilities & time spent with other loved ones.

3 in 5 of us will become caregivers to a loved one at some point in our lives, so having someone to provide support through respite care can offer an important break to recharge batteries and ensure we don’t suffer from ‘Caregiver Burnout’.

What is respite care?

Respite care provides some light relief to those caring for a family member or loved one. It allows you to take some time away to look after yourself and stop you from feeling exhausted, stressed and burnt out.

This may include getting help for a few hours whilst you rest or complete personal chores, to a longer period of time so you can go on holiday or take an extended break.

How to get respite care

Respite care can come in many forms from day care centres to at-home carers. It can even involve help from friends and families. You can find information about getting support from your local carers' centre where you can take a carer's assessment. This will determine whether or not you can get financial support from the council. 

You can also get respite care by using companionship and care apps such as companiions where you can arrange on-demand affordable help, support and assistance from trusted people locally at an affordable hourly rate.

Read more about how companiions supported Dorothy and her husband Melvin with respite care from our amazing companion, Helen.  

Respite care: the companiions way

Meet Dorothy, 63 from Bristol 

“I look up to the sky and shout freedom!” admits 63-year-old Dorothy, when describing how it feels to leave her house for a few hours, whilst her beloved husband Melvin is at home with a companiions helper. 

As full-time carer to Melvin, who has a degenerative brain disease, Dorothy describes herself as “housebound by default.” With no support provided to ease the strain of her increasingly dependent partner, she can feel desperate to break out of her four walls.

“As much as I love Melvin,” (her husband of 47 years) “and I look at the positives of what we still have together, it’s mentally crucifying to be in the house 24/7,” she admits. “I’m fighting off depression myself, and getting out is crucial both to my and his well being.”

Dorothy set about finding an affordable companion and downloaded the companiions app - an app-based service that brings together people who need help or companionship with trusted companions  - browsing for a suitable companion for Melvin, who could sit with him and provide companionship whilst she was out.

Enter Helen, an Occupational Therapist, whose experience of people with Melvin’s condition was a great asset and enabled her to understand his compromised speech, where others previously struggled.

“Helen has an ease and maturity about her. She’s patient, lively, friendly and engaging, and most important of all, she is trustworthy, ” Dorothy explains. “It’s not easy to leave your loved one with someone they have just met, but I felt very comfortable doing so. She could within the app directly, whilst I was out, which also helped.”

“Having Helen there made a huge difference to me and Melvin. He’s no doubt bored with having just me around. I left them telling jokes to each other - Melvin had someone new to tell his jokes to!”

“Times flies when I’m with Melvin”, adds companion Helen. “Dorothy suggested we could watch TV together, but we didn’t switch it on once. We chatted music - he educated me about his love of rock and roll dancing - and we then used Alexa to playback our favourite tracks to each other!” she recalls.

“He has a wicked sense of humour. And it’s so rewarding for me, knowing I can help not just Melvin, but Dorothy too,” she admits.

Dorothy unquestionably benefits both physically and mentally having Helen there, so much so, she confesses after her first time out, that she “didn’t want to come back!”

Of paramount importance was Melvin’s experience of having Helen with him, without Dorothy by his side. “If he wasn’t so comfortable and happy with her I would say no to having a companion, but I could see how much he was benefitting.”

Dorothy has booked Helen for regular visits… and she can’t wait for the next one to come “It’s been over two weeks since I’ve left the house. I just can’t wait to go for a walk in beautiful woodlands, to get out and smell the air again!” she confesses.

“companiions has offered me a lifeline. I was in a difficult really situation, but with their support, I don’t feel nearly so overwhelmed. I can’t thank them enough!” she proclaims.

What type of respite care does companiions offer?

companiions supports many customers to provide important respite care. If you are missing social events, have been unable to attend appointments, struggle with balancing work and family life, or just need a break then companiions respite care can help with:   

  • Companionship: Social activities, friendship, exercising, local walks and more 
  • Everyday assistance: Help with transportation, shopping, preparing meals or light housework 

Simply sign up to the companiions app where you'll find rated and reviewed, trustworthy local people who can help for £12-25 per hour. Each are verified with our detailed safety process, so you know you and your loved one are in the best hands.

Find a companion to help you and your loved one

If you need a break to refresh and restore, then download the companiions app and sign up to arrange companionship for a loved one, or even yourself.