A life-changing service supporting unpaid carers and the people they look after has been launched by Aberdeen charity VSA.
Earlier this year the social care organisation was forced to close its “critical” mental health facility in Airyhall due to a lack of funding.
The weekend respite service looked after people with mental or physical illnesses so their unpaid carers could have some time to themselves.
VSA said it was particularly useful for those looking after someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s, keeping them from reaching “crisis point”.
It has now opened the VSA Connect service, designed to support adults of all ages across the city.
Service offers help around the house
Rather than providing one central location for people to visit, it offers support at home – including personal care, help with household tasks and medication, and social interaction.
Charity bosses hope it will “bridge the gap” left in the wake of the Airyhall centre’s closure.
VSA Connect manager, Kelly Pickavance, said: “We have a team of highly-trained support staff that will work with you to create a bespoke plan to fit your needs and lifestyle.
“If you are unsure about self-directed support and need any advice, our team would be delighted to have a conversation with you and let you know what options are available and how we could help you.”
Laura Walker, whose husband Gary was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2013, said the Airyhall service had been a “life saver”.
Now, however, someone from VSA Connect visits them twice a week instead.
“It gives me free time to go and do things I maybe can’t do with Gary there,” Laura said.
“Taking him shopping can be stressful so I can do that, or meet a friend for coffee.
“In general, I use the time to play catch-up and get things done.
“It’s good for the person being cared for, and for the carer. It’s very important they get time on their own because it’s 24/7, offering continuous care.”
VSA chief executive Kenneth Simpson said: “Over the course of our 150 year history, we have continually evolved our services to help support the needs of vulnerable children and adults across Aberdeen.
“The new service will provide people across Aberdeen with the support they need to help lead happy, healthy, and meaningful lives.”
More information can be found by visiting the VSA website or calling 01224 212 021.