As we head into National Carers Week, here at Home Instead, we recognise the thousands of people who give up their lives to care for a family member or friend.
Over the years, we have met some wonderful husbands, wives, sons and daughters and even friends who are so unaware of the unstinting and selfless contribution they are making to someone's life, but also the sacrifice they are making to their own lives.
"He's my husband, that's what I do!', are words we hear often.
A lot of what we do at Home Instead is offer respite to these amazing people, giving them the opportunity to steal a couple of hours in the week for themselves, a small bit of time to do something other than thinking about someone else. A trip to the hairdresser, or to visit a friend, can make such a difference to their week.
But in order for respite to work and be beneficial, everyone needs to be confident and trusting in who is looking after their loved one. As part of our recruitment process at Home Instead, we only employ people who understand from within what caring for someone really means. Owner of the business, Clare Jefferies, set the bar very high from the very first day she set the company up. ' My mother had very high standards, so as long as I would be happy introducing someone to her, if she was still around today, then I'm happy to employ them. It's got to come from within - you can't teach someone to care, and that includes caring about their own presentation and demeanour'.
Last week the company invited all of its CAREGivers to afternoon tea, to say thank you for the brilliant work they do. Many were busy providing care, but around 30 dedicated and devoted, caring members of an incredible team were about to have a bit of respite themselves!