A break from caring can make the world of difference to families and carers of adults with learning disabilities and complex needs.
Worthing-based charity Guild Care offers a variety of day respite services providing social fun, activities and outings for loved ones, while their families are given a break to have time to themselves and recharge their batteries.
The highly-trained and experienced staﬀ provide a caring and safe environment for adults with a wide range of needs, such as learning disabilities, sensory impairment, physical disabilities, acquired brain injury, autistic spectrum disorders, epilepsy and genetic conditions.
The services include the Fitzalan Howard Centre in Worthing, which focuses on supporting people to be more independent and to learn the skills they need to equip them in their daily lives. Here, activities range from quiet sensory sessions to rowdy karaoke, football in the park, bargain hunting at the market, art, cookery and swimming.
Danielle Abbiss, manager at the Fitzalan Howard Centre, said: “Clients plan their own cooking sessions and choose what they make and they will then go shopping for the ingredients. This helps them to understand the process of preparing food.”
Christine is a regular service user who attends with her companion, Fletcher the dog.
She said: “Fitzalan means my life. We’re a family here. Everyone knows each other. We’ve got similar disabilities, so we’re not different to each other. We have a laugh and a joke. You can relax here, without worrying about upsetting each other. If it wasn’t here, I would be really sad.”
The Birkdale Centre in Durrington supports people with more complex conditions to live life to the full, by developing a person-centred programme for each individual. Timetables are ﬂexible and adapt to people on a daily basis. The clients who attend Birkdale have higher needs and so are supported on higher staffing ratios.
Seb Deborde, deputy manager at the Birkdale Centre, said: “We develop individual person-centred programmes for each individual and work closely with health care professionals to ensure that all their needs are met.
“We have access to more advanced technology with equipment that can be operated by the people who have profound disabilities. We also have eye-gaze equipment which enables clients to operate a computer with their eyes.”
GOLD, Growing Older with Learning Disabilities, is a unique and informal service for older people aged 50 and over with learning disabilities, who need support with their changing needs as they age.
This is a needs-led service, providing a range of person-centred and group activities which can respond sympathetically to progressive changes in cognitive and physical ability. Activities are user led and flexible, where people can choose what they want to do for the day, from cake decorating to singing, crafts and puzzles and painting.
Ann, who attends GOLD regularly, said: “I like it here, I love the dancing and singing, I love the knitting. I am very happy here.”
Due to the success of this service and with the opening of the charity’s new Frank Cave Annexe, following a grant from the National Heritage Lottery, this has allowed them to increase this service to two days a week with spaces for up to 50 people.
For more information on Guild Care’s disability services, call 01903 327327, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.guildcare.org