Every day carers are responsible for 24/7 care, medication, dealing with falls, personal care and night-time calls, never having a break for themselves and often struggling with feelings of isolation.
It’s estimated that 11% of people in Dorset are currently carers, of which many will be carers of those with life limiting illnesses.
Lewis-Manning Hospice Care hold a monthly Carer’s Support Group, held at St Mary’s Church Centre and from this Jo Sharkey, Family Support and Bereavement Lead, had recognised from carers stories, the need for them to have a ‘day off’.
Jo and Nikki Cluley, Corporate Partnerships Fundraiser, then worked closely together to plan an ‘away day’ at sea in Poole Harbour, as a surprise for a group of carers of patients from the hospice.
Planning was needed to care for the patients, to enable the carers to enjoy a relaxing day knowing their loved ones were well looked after, and the hospice was opened specially with extra staff added to make this happen.
Once the patients had been dropped off at the hospice a local taxi firm, United Taxis, provided free transport to and from the quay.
On arriving at the quay, the carers were then told of the plan of the day ahead, and reactions can only be described as shocked, amazed and excited!
The group of 8 carers enjoyed the trip on a fabulous 70ft Sunseeker, hosted by loyal hospice supporter Paul Lester (McCarthy Stone Chairman) and his daughter Kate from Silver Spirit Yacht Charters who kindly gifted the afternoon as part of their ongoing partnership with Lewis-Manning.
A leisurely cruise around Poole Harbour and the bay was then followed by a delicious buffet lunch onboard, provided by Sorrells.
Jo Sharkey, Hospice Family Support & Bereavement Lead, who accompanied the carers said, “It has been so valuable for the carers to have this time out, to allow them to just be themselves. As carers it is possible to lose one’s identity as a wife/husband/partner/daughter/son and this day has allowed them to be in the company of others who understand. It would have given them time out with no worries, no need to rush back and offered complete relaxation. I’ve loved seeing the smiles on everyone’s faces!’
“Carers are offered regular access to a monthly Support Group at the hospice, and it was wonderful to meet up with the carers the following day to hear their amazing feedback about their day out.”
Carers who enjoyed the away day commented:
“As you know daily life for everyone is both challenging and exhausting. Inevitably you become worn down, so to have a day such as we just did is exceptional. We all smiled and laughed all day. Everyone, including Oakley the dog made the day memorable, so thank you so much.”
“What an unexpected and wonderful surprise to be treated to such an amazing experience!”
“Our group are so fortunate to have Lewis-Manning to turn to. We have that safe place to talk, laugh and cry. Such support is immeasurable, and we are lucky to have it.”
“It was the best feeling being out on the water, bringing calm and relaxation-just the best day!”
The Carer’s Group is held at St Mary’s Church Centre, on the second Friday of each month, from 10-12. Please get in touch if you would like to know more.