Brian & Sheila Baker have been working with Shared Lives South West for the past 13 years, providing both residential care and short term respite in their home at Halamanning. Sheila has been caring for others for many years prior to this as she was a State Registered Nurse based in Sussex for many years, plus running a care in the community business in East Sussex, with over 2000 clients to provide for.
Brian left the Royal Navy in 1976 and had a wide variety of jobs, from window cleaning to working in sales, and labouring on building projects amongst many more. This has provided him with a wide spectrum of experience in dealing with different people in different situations and this has proved to be an asset when providing care for others.
Moving to Cornwall in 1998, to combine running a local business in Camborne with seeking a better quality of life and environment, Brian & Sheila both wish they had made the move sooner.
Whilst providing short term residential respite care for people through Shared Lives, it became apparent to them both that there was a real shortage of dedicated respite care for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia. This was often as a result of the specific symptoms and behavioural patterns of these people making it difficult for them to interact with others with less demanding needs, and a “one size fits all” approach to care does not suit those with the many variations of needs of dementia sufferers.
Having a large shed / barn on their smallholding which was being used as part workshop and part storage for “things which may come in handy one day so best hang onto them”, they decided to convert it into a place where day care could be offered in a beautiful rural location and a high level of care could be provided.
Obtaining planning permission was a lengthy and costly process, but once obtained, the daunting challenge of building it became apparent. Brian & Sheila tried to get crowdfunding or grants to help kick-start the building process but all were in vain they decided to invest all their savings and borrow what they could to see the vision through, and so 18 months later, the work is all done, the inspections are complete, certifications provided and they are open for business.