But Barbara Draper is one of a growing number making use of adult day care centres which support people in the Portsmouth area.
Barbara, 87, suffers from dementia and lives with her daughter Karen, who cares for her.
But it can be a strain on the family. So having somewhere such as The Lodge, a day care centre in Hilsea, to attend a few times a week has proved to be of huge benefit.
Barbara says: ‘It’s lovely here. The owners June and Michael are the best people and there are lots of activities to do. It’s just so nice to come here and meet new people.’
Barbara’s son, Steve Draper, 59, says: ‘Mum does like going there. It provides such a good service. They are very flexible with how they work with you.
‘It works well for both mum and for my sister. I don’t think my mum could live with my sister full-time if she didn’t get these breaks three or four times a week.
‘It just gives her a few hours where she’s not thinking about my mum. It works well for both of them, especially as mum has dementia. It’s difficult. She’s very unsteady on her feet. The Lodge looks after people well and I think it’s a very good idea.’
The Lodge, which is next to the Mountbatten Centre on Northern Parade, is run by owners Michael Cox and June Conn. It opened in October 2017 and takes no more than 10 people at a time to provide a quieter, more relaxed setting.
The Lodge allows people to have the freedom to do whatever they like. That could be reading, sleeping, playing games or doing arts and crafts such as painting, model-making or jewellery-making.
Sometimes staff will drive people out to the beach or take them for a walk around the park. In the building, which is an old park keepers’ house, there’s a library, a bright lounge and dining room, two bathrooms with shower facilities and an outdoor patio area with seating, providing the perfect setting for enjoying the sunshine.
People can visit for the day or for half a day and enjoy lunch as well as tea, coffee and cake. It costs £45 for a full day and £30 for a half-day including lunch, or £25 without lunch.
Michael and June work together to provide a comfortable and friendly setting for their visitors.
‘The idea was to create a home-from-home environment,’ says Michael. ‘A lot of people find that at 20-40 people, the bigger centre are too big. This is filling the gap in the market where care is pushing towards keeping people in the community for as long as possible.
‘You often have families looking after relatives who become ill. The carer needs the break and so does the person who is being cared for.
‘It’s trying to create an environment where they can come and centre things around them. They can make their day up as they want. If they want to sit and sleep in the front room then they can. They can read a book, or they can go outside and work on the gardens.’
Why are day care centres so important?
‘The population is becoming older,’ Michael says. ‘More and more families are having to care for elderly relatives because people are living longer. A lot of people sit at home and they have no interaction with anybody. They end up on their own. It’s important to socialise and to have that interaction. It also allows the family to have a break and recharge their batteries.
‘It means that they can go out to the gym and have some normality to their life.’
He adds: ‘People are looking for day centres and there aren’t a lot of them around here. When they go to social services they often get pushed to the big centres.
‘It’s about making people aware that there are alternatives that are smaller and more intimate. People who come here find it so different. They are looking for something else because they have been put off by the bigger places.
‘People know they are being looked after, they are being fed and they are making friends. And it allows them to stay within the community. It’s an intimate environment. We strive to make it homely. There is good food and good company.
‘When you are here you aren’t isolated. There are rooms where people can go and do different things. ‘By keeping it to 10 people, it allows us to do much more individually.’
To find out more about The Lodge, go to http://the-lodge-day-centre.co.uk/ or call (023) 92 694661