Carers left feeling like 'prisoners in their own home' due to lack of respite
A woman from Dorset, who looks after her disabled husband, has described how she even missed her own mother's funeral because she couldn't get respite care.
Lisa Reardon, from Poole, said budget cuts and a lack of funding are making the world smaller and smaller for disabled people and their carers.
Her husband Paul has used a wheelchair since he suffered a brain haemorrhage at the age of 23.
Lisa gives him round the clock care at their home and said she's struggling to get any kind of break following the closure of a specialist respite facility in Southampton.
Lisa Reardon explains what the centre's closure means for them.
Prior to the closure, the couple used Waterside House at Netley at least twice a year.
Lisa said: "It's just the way it is isn't it - you can't do anything about it. It's all about lack of funding - investment in respite services - it impacts our lives all the time.
"That respite was my break. It just helped me carry on basically and put up with stuff.
"I've been looking after Paul for 32 years. That respite was my break. It just helped me to carry on basically. It just depresses you that you are not able to have something to look forward to like that."
Peter Le'Warne said he misses being able to go on day trips with the charity.
Another family from Overton have also been affected by the closure and have described how they "feel like prisoners in their own home".
Peter Le'Warne, who has cerebral palsy, had been going to the centre for more than 30 years.
He said: "I miss the day trips - and I miss all of it."
The only respite the family gets is when Peter's sister is able to look after him.
Peter's mother, Michelle Le'Warne said there is no alternative provision for them to go to.
Michelle Le'Warne said the closure of the centre has left the family feeling like "prisoners".
Those in charge of the centre said they had no choice but to close because they could no longer make ends meet.
Jan Tregelles, Chief Executive, Revitalise said: "The lives of people with disability and their carers are mostly supported by benefits and the benefits haven't increased. Families with cost of living can't afford to pay, and then local authorities have cut funding of essential breaks and respite by 42%.
"We couldn't have afforded to continue - we're a charity. We just couldn't afford it."
In the past, as many as 2,000 people a year would have come to the centre for respite and holiday breaks. Clients would have benefitted from specially adapted rooms with hoists and disabled accessible bathrooms.
Revitalise said local authority care homes for the elderly, are increasingly becoming the only respite option on offer, which is often unsuitable for younger people with disabilities.
The charity that ran Waterside House is so worried about the lack of suitable respite for the disabled, that it's launching a fundraising campaign called Give Me a Break that will subsidise and pay for tailor made breaks and holidays at other centres.
A spokesperson for Hampshire County Council said: "We recognise the importance of respite care for those looking after loved ones, as well as the individuals themselves. We have seen demand for this type of support increase in recent years, as the number of people living with complex disabilities grows.
"However, with stretched budgets, the amount we can fund will only extend so far. Our care teams are working extremely hard to support carers and those with complex needs, while the Local Authority continues to press Government for a long term, sustainable solution to adult social care funding."
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: "We hugely value the enormous contribution and dedication of unpaid carers and we are investing up to £700 million in reforms over the next two years - including an additional £25 million for unpaid carers.
"We’ve also earmarked £327 million through our Better Care Fund this year to provide carers with advice and support, including short breaks and respite services."
If you or your family are in need of support you can contact the following organisations.
Revitalise - 0303 303 0145
Dementia UK - 0800 888 6678
Crossroads Care - 020 8943 9421
Carers UK - 020 7378 4999
Carers Trust - 0300 772 9600
Rethink - 0808 801 0525
Samaritans - 116 123