Serving the people of Bradford, Harrogate, Selby and Craven Districts

Volunteer's positive impact

Carer Dennis and his friend Hazel knew each other in their school days but had gone their separate ways, marrying and having their own families.

Finding themselves on their own after the death of their partners, their friendship was rekindled in their 90s at a local Knaresborough luncheon group. Dennis found himself caring for Hazel as her dementia progressed and moved in to care for her permanently.

Carers’ Time Off matched volunteer Liz, a recently retired nurse, with Hazel to visit regularly to enable Dennis to continue to go to his bridge club. Dennis is passionate about bridge and credits playing regularly with keeping his brain active. He said: “Having a lady to visit is so lovely for Hazel, they can chat and have a ride out so I can go to my bridge. Liz is sensitive to Hazel’s needs knowing when she might need to rest.”

Liz, like Hazel and Dennis, knows the local area well and she remembers going to dancing classes as a little girl so likes hearing Hazel’s escapades as a professional ballet dancer and then running her own dancing school in Harrogate.

Liz enjoys her volunteering, saying: “Hazel is a fascinating lady who regales with witty, charming stories. Full of wisdom and insight, having experienced many ups and downs in her life.”

Having a Carers’ Time Off volunteer has had a positive impact on the extended family of both Hazel and Dennis. Christine, Dennis’s daughter, explained: “Dennis and Hazel are so pleased that Elizabeth comes on a Monday afternoon to sit with Hazel, it is so good for both of them. It allows Dennis time to go to Harrogate and play bridge with his friends and have time away from the house which he is so grateful for.

“Hazel is always pleased to see Elizabeth, she may not always remember her name but Elizabeth comes in with that lovely smile on her face which cheers Hazel up. They have many chats and often go out for a cup of tea to a cafe. In nice weather they have been to the Valley Gardens and popped into the cafe there for a drink.

“Hazel says, well we all do, that Elizabeth is a really kind, understanding and patient person, nothing seems too much trouble for her. It is nice for Hazel to have the company of another lady as she is often in the house with just Dennis and she loves to have some female company and different conversation.”

Another local Carers’ Time Off volunteer has now  joined the team effort of supporting Dennis and Hazel so even when Liz is away Hazel has company and Dennis makes his bridge meetings.

Christine said Dennis is so grateful that the volunteers give up their time to help, adding: “This service benefits everyone in the family, not just Dennis and Hazel. Thank you so much.”