Fulfilled living in later life

Friday 11th August 2023

How respite care was a break for us both

When Carolyn went on holiday to Israel, her mother Pat, 97, came for a respite break at Milward House in Tunbridge Wells. She tells us how the experience benefited both of them

“Mum lives a few doors down from me in Biggin Hill. She lives independently in a retirement flat where there are pull-cords for use in an emergency but there isn’t always someone on site. I’m her first port of call if she needs anything. I manage all her shopping and I’ll pop in two or three times a week.

“I’d planned to go on holiday to Israel and both Mum and I were feeling anxious about the thought of her being alone for all that time. Mum’s Christian faith is very important to her and so I enquired about respite care at Christian homes near to us. Unfortunately, none of them offered respite care. Someone suggested we tried Milward House, which is slightly further afield for us but because her faith is so important to her Mum was willing to travel.

“From the moment we walked in we were both really impressed. The home was clean and the staff were incredibly friendly and caring. During her time at Milward House, Mum was able to join the devotions in the lounge, including some led by the local vicar. She really enjoyed being able to sing hymns with other people. These days, she finds it too difficult to get to church and so being able to join in with collective worship was very special.

Pilgrims Friend Milward House Pat Respite Care resized

“About the staff she has only words of praise. They were always so kind and friendly to her. She loves being around people, and she especially enjoyed being brought bowls of soup up to her room for tea – like room service in a hotel. She didn’t have to think about anything and could just relax and be looked after.

“From my perspective, it was a weight of my mind. I didn’t have to worry about whether Mum was okay as I knew there were always people around if she needed anything. For Mum, it also gave her a taste of what life in a care home might be like. If she were to need to go into full-time care eventually she has an idea of what to expect.”

If you think respite care might be helpful to you or your family, find out more.