Time to Live 4
A story by Borders Carers Centre
We provided grants directly to carers who live in the Scottish Borders, to plan and pay for a short break of their choice.
What Time to Live 4 did
Borders Carers Centre has responsibility for carrying out all Carers Assessments within the locality and this complements and supports the application process, as it is centred around the needs of carers both met and unmet. Many of the referrals to the Time to Live Fund come through this process.
The Time to Live Fund is also widely advertised on our website, through e-bulletins to carers and professionals and carers support groups. The application form is easily accessible and available on-line. We also receive a considerable number of referrals from social work, health and other voluntary sector agencies in the area.
Our panel is made up of a carer, board member and a member of staff. Decisions are based on the fund eligibility criteria and information presented on the application form. We also request further information if required. All applications are endorsed by a third party.
K came to the Carers Centre for a Carer Assessment and through the assessment process, it became clear that K was finding it really difficult to cope juggling the care for his daughter with the demands of his employment. He was exhausted and struggling with low mood and depression. He was working all day and coming home to a daughter whose behaviour was becoming unpredictable and challenging leaving no time for him. His energy levels were becoming seriously depleted.
Although K was working full time, it was not well-paid and the loss of his wife’s income, meant that he was struggling to make ends meet and consequently there were insufficient funds to enable him to take part in activities or pursuits. He also noticed that although he enjoyed his work he was becoming moody and isolated with his colleagues.
K was desperate for some time out for himself, so that he could relax and unwind after a day’s work. He felt that if he had some time to recharge he would be in a better place to provide care and support to his daughter. He also felt that he was contributing to his daughter’s challenging behaviour because of his own low mood and she was noticing the fact that he was his struggling to cope.
Following an assessment of his needs, an SDS budget was put in place to provide additional respite, so that K could have some much needed time to himself. An application was put forward to the Time to Live panel for membership fees for K so that he could start attending the gym again on a regular basis, something that had always been really important for him in the past as he felt that regular exercise had such a positive impact on his health and well-being.
K was asked to evaluate what difference the gym membership has made to him and his daughter.
He reported that he felt more energised, emotionally and physically stronger, more relaxed and calmer, happier and more positive about the future, less worried. He was more able to cope, more settled in himself, an improved frame of mind and less stressed. He felt that because of this he and his daughter have an improved relationship, as she has picked up on his positive energy and more relaxed attitude. He also feels more supported at work as his newfound confidence empowered him to speak to his employer about his struggle to cope with his caring responsibilities and this has led to greater understanding and flexibility within the workplace.
The couple have had some social work input in the past but once the appropriate aids and adaptations had been put in place, their case was closed. J was referred to the Carers Centre following a visit to her GP, when she broke down in tears and admitted that she was really struggling to cope. T’s condition had been deteriorating for some time and he was now struggling with personal care needs. The demands of supporting T with this, the daily bathing/showering and continence issues were really starting to impact on J and she was worn out both physically and emotionally. She was struggling to sleep at night with the constant worry and she was also battling with constant pain herself due to arthritis.
J had a Carer’s Assessment and a referral was put in for an urgent review of T’s changing needs. Personal care support was quickly put in place, provided by the local authority. J was very grateful but was still feeling overwhelmed by T’s changing condition and was struggling to get back to her normal self. J acknowledged that she could do with some time out for herself but admitted that she didn’t like to leave T and there was no-one who could sit with T as her family lived far away, their friends had moved on or were struggling themselves and T felt that they had enough people going into the house. J was not keen on leaving T anyway and felt that she would worry too much unless it was the family taking care of him.
J was asked what she thought would help her and she said that she had always enjoyed going for a massage but it had become too expensive for their limited funds and she did not like the idea of taking a bus into town and leaving T alone even for part of a day. We advised that we could make and application to Time to Live for funding for a massage therapist to come to the house to give J some massage sessions in the home. J was delighted and amazed as she had no idea that something like that was possible.
J had ten massage sessions to relieve her aching bones and to give her some time to herself in the safety of her own home, whilst T had an afternoon snooze in the next room. Following the sessions J was asked to evaluate what difference they had made to her in relation to her caring role. J stated that, my morale has improved and my emotional well-being, I have never been shown such kindness, it has really helped me to cope, I no longer feel so sore, I feel like me again.
She also said that her husband had noticed the difference and it had made him happy to see her back to her old self because he had been feeling so guilty about the fact that he was becoming such a burden.
L’s behaviour is very unpredictable, she can be verbally and physically abusive and has just started to wander, turning night into day. There are also issues with personal care and continence. There is a small package of care but this does not always work as L frequently refuses to cooperate with the carers. S was struggling to cope and it was evident that there was an urgent need for respite to prevent a complete breakdown of the caring situation. It was also getting to the stage when consideration would have to be given to the possibility of long-term residential care.
S was both physically and mentally exhausted and felt unable to make any firm decisions. She felt that she was at the beck and call of both her husband and her mother and felt that her relationships with both her husband and her mum were in danger of irretrievably breaking down if she did not have some time to herself. The household income was made up from welfare benefits. S had not been able to work for some time due to her own health care needs and her husband had also not worked for some time due to depression.
S was emotional and tearful and felt an overwhelming need to get away from it all for a few days to sleep, rest and recharge. An application was submitted to Time to Live for a weekend away in York where S had friends that she could meet up with but at the same time enjoy being pampered in a hotel with no demands on her time. The application was marked as urgent and once approved, the grant was processed very quickly.
L was allocated an emergency place in a specialist dementia bed at a local residential home with a view to long term forward planning and the possibility of a permanent place. On return from her break away S felt more able to make decisions and recognised that caring for her mum was no longer feasible from either a physical or mental perspective. At the end of her weekend away L was admitted to hospital with a UTI and from hospital went onto permanent residential care.
S was asked to evaluate her break she said, I feel de -stressed, I am still tired but no longer desperate, taking time out means that I can see the bigger picture I have clarity now, It’s made it easier to let go. L enjoyed her respite and was well cared for. S and L now have a much approved albeit very changed relationship but their time together is quality time and S can walk away. The relationship between S and her husband has also improved.