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Showcases / Could you give a carer a welcome break?

Crossroads carer Adeline Nicolson (right) with 85-year old Alan Alderson and his wife Patricia - Photos: ShetNews

CROSSROADS Shetland, one of the islands’ most valued charities, is looking for new recruits to support carers looking after elderly and other vulnerable people. Active in the isles since 1992, Crossroads provides help and support for a few hours each week to carers the length and breadth of Shetland.

Care attendants like Adeline Nicolson from Aith, who helps four different people on the west side, offer a straightforward service that allows full time carers some respite from their responsibilities.

For example in Sand, Adeline spends three hours every Thursday with 85 year old Alan Alderson so that his wife Patricia can head for Lerwick to do the weekly shop.

“If I didn’t have Adeline I would be up the creek without a paddle,” admitted Patricia, who helped set up the service two decades ago when she ran the local health council.

“Now I am on the receiving end, and I am very glad to see it is doing the job it was supposed to do,” she said.

“It fills a gap for people who don’t have anyone to rely on and gives the carer a chance to get out.

“If a carer can see light at the end of the tunnel to give them a break it makes a tremendous difference.”

The support Adeline offers varies from person to person. “It all depends on their needs,” she explained.

Mary Gifford: 'Crossroads visits might be the only time carers get any respite'

“Alan can’t get out of the house so I’m really just company for him, and I make him a cup of tea and his dinner. Others might like going shopping or to a café, or going out and about and socialising.”

Care attendants like Adeline are paid workers employed on a casual/relief basis near where they live and receive regular training in first aid, moving and handling, dementia and adult support and protection.

Regular surveys of Crossroads clients like Alan show they hold the service in high regard.

“Adeline’s been good to me, I like her and I have to admit that I’m extremely happy with the service,” he said.

Crossroads Shetland manager Mary Gifford said the care attendants enjoy their work.

“They feel they have the time to get to know the people they go in to as they don’t have a specific job to do like assisting with a shower or delivering personal care,” she said.

“It also means a lot to the carers to be given some time off. Crossroads visits might be the only time they get any respite from their caring role.

“It means they can do things like go shopping or attend a hairdresser’s appointment – things that the rest of us take for granted.”

Right now Crossroads is looking to recruit care attendants in most areas of Shetland.

“If anyone can devote a few hours a week to make a difference to people’s lives then please get in touch,” Mary said.

Anyone interested can contact her at Market House in Lerwick by phoning 01595 743932 or emailing mary.gifford@shetland.org 


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