Why holidays matter

The summer holiday season is in full swing. By the time you read this you may already have had yours and be dreaming of the next one.

For many of us this is an exciting and fun time we look forward to for months ahead.

It’s easy to forget that for a significant number of people having a break away from the daily routine is an impossible dream, making the holiday season an emotional time of the year.

If you need round-the-clock support with medical and personal care, or help to eat and drink, or a hoist to get you from your wheelchair into bed, or adapted transport to be able to get out and about, the prospect of going on holiday can seem very distant. 

The logistics and practicalities of planning and getting away on a break can seem overwhelming. Will you be able to get access to medical support if you need it? How will you find, and pay for, suitable transport to get you, and all the medical equipment and supplies you’re going to need, to your destination? What if illness means you have to cancel your holiday at the last minute and lose the money you’ve paid as a result? And how are you going to fund it all in the first place?

If you’re the person who provides the care, unless you’re able to come to a specialist respite care centre like Leuchie House, the chances are you’ll still have to do all the caring while you’re away. A busman’s holiday at best.

Shared Care Scotland works to improve the availability and quality of short breaks for those who desperately need them. This summer they have been running a campaign called Why holidays matter to raise awareness of all these issues. As you’d expect, we’ve been very involved and using every means at our disposal to give this the exposure and support it needs.

If you have a long term health condition, being able to have regular breaks is known to be the key factor in improving both you and your carer’s health and wellbeing. Surely everyone deserves to have that to look forward to?

Mairi O'Keefe, CEO, Leuchie House. Published in The East Lothian Courier, 17 August 2017.