“[Respite care] is something we wanted to do for a while,” says Shelly. “We knew there were a lot of children who were in situations where they weren’t receiving the care and attention that they needed… We felt this was something we could do together with passion and commitment, and we felt like respite care was going to be our best option.”
Respite care fits in with Shelly and Mark’s lives, allowing them to plan and give focused time and attention to the teenage boy they care for one weekend a month.
“We like to go for bike rides,” says Mark. “The physical [activity] really helps to settle him and is really good for [helping him] cope with anxiety…” Despite not being fulltime carers, the couple are delighted to see that their decision is making a difference in a young person’s life, and recommend the option to others interested in becoming carers.
Looking for precious moments of connection and healing is what motivates Mark and Shelly, with Mark recalling a recent incident when the young person thanked him during a challenging bike ride. “I asked him why he was thanking me,” says Mark. “He said he was thanking me for encouraging him.”