Crossroads have given me back something I thought I’d lost, which is time for me. The charity have been pivotal in helping me keep a bit of my social life, giving me time to explore my creative side and allowing those all-important moments when I’ve been so exhausted I needed extra time to sleep.

I recently had the pleasure to meet Ifor, a wonderful man, who hails from North Wales. At first meet and not necessarily sure how Ifor would react when I introduced myself as a representative from Crossroads Care Surrey. I was keen to do some research in and around how carers we support spend their valued respite time. How was Ifor planning to spend his four hours away from caring? Probably doing some shopping or chores, or perhaps prioritising his own health and well-being with a visit to see his daughters or time to meet a friend, rest and so on.

It was clear Ifor wanted to talk to me and he immediately gestured to sit down with me. At first impression, I knew this man has lived a fulfilling and rewarding life; married to Wendy and blessed with two now grown up daughters living in different parts of Surrey and enjoying rewarding careers in London.

Having lived in the Reigate and Redhill community for many years, Ifor and Wendy enjoyed spending time with local friends, often hosting dinner parties. Occasionally, a trip to London to see the Opera and a ballet was a wonderful treat too. In 2017, Ifor’s wife Wendy suffered with a stroke and was later diagnosed with vascular dementia. Slowly over time, Wendy’s condition deteriorated.

Ifor says: “Caring for Wendy is not how we envisaged spending our retirement, but life happens”. Ifor strikes me as a positive person, stoic and outwardly resilient, but he tells me living with Wendy can be lonely. He understands and appreciates the situation he finds himself in and is happy as feels he has plenty in life to be thankful for.

Ifor’s day starts at 4am. He purposefully rises early to make the most of the time before Wendy wakes so he can begin to plan for his day. He prepares and cooks their evening meal before going to check on Wendy. When she wakes, he tends to her personal care, helps her get dressed and ready for the day. He organises activities for Wendy, including short excursions to interesting places outside the home.

Ifor’s wife Wendy receives care in the home from a Crossroads Care Surrey Carer Support Worker each Wednesday. These links have been invaluable to him.