Learning Disability Awareness Week – Respite, the most important time in the world

Respite is “the most important time in the world” for many carers.  Ollie Pearce and his mother both benefit from a respite service provided by Certitude in Ealing.

When Ollie was born his mother, May Pearce, was told he wouldn’t live beyond a few months; he has an extremely rare condition which results in many symptoms including severe autism, OCD and constant epileptic seizures which can’t be controlled by drugs. Ollie has defied all the odds and is now 25 years old and lives at home with his mother who provides most of his support on her own.

One night in six Ollie is entitled to respite care but it works better for both Ollie and his mother if they group these nights together. Ollie spends four nights in a row away each month – he finds it easier to adapt to the change in routine and his mother has the chance to get a real break. He takes his time away at a Certitude-run respite service in Ealing.

Mrs Pearce comments:

“I can’t tell you how important that respite time is for me, it is a major, major part of my life. I drop him off, go home, get a hot drink and go to sleep in the hope I will sleep right through to the next morning, or ideally the afternoon. When I am looking after Ollie he needs my constant attention, he changes his clothes about seven times a day and his OCD means they have to be washed before he’ll put them on again and he needs a lot of emotional reassurance. I do have help with him overnight when someone comes to stay but having someone in your house – even if they are here to help – can be quite stressful. It’s not relaxing and it’s still me that Ollie needs overnight. He hasn’t slept through the night since the day he was born so I am always tired; knowing that I have that break coming up each month is the most important thing in the world.

And what’s really great is that Ollie loves it! When he is away he goes on trips to the seaside, outings to the park, walks in the woods, out for meals and to the cinema – he has a great time. It’s a break for him too – I mean what 25 year old man wants to spend all his time with his mother?”