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Carol's story

“I felt, is this really the right place to be? Do I qualify as a carer?”

Carol cares for her husband 24/7. Unable to leave him very often, she shares how she has found solace in trying something new.

Even when there isn’t a national lockdown to consider, Carol often spends her days indoors. Carol’s husband suffers with Alzheimer’s disease. She can find it hard to leave him on his own, as he could leave the house and become lost. She looks after him around the clock, prioritising his health and safety.

“We’re together 24/7 and that works best.”

When the opportunity to take part in the pilot for a phone café came up, she “took a leap of faith” to try something new. Carol felt nervous at first and was unsure she even qualified to access the service.

“I felt is this really the right place to be? Do I qualify as a carer?”

Many people that care for loved ones find it hard to identify as a ‘carer’. Sometimes they feel the term doesn’t reflect the relationship they have with their family member, and that it can suggest a service that you pay for. Though it may not be a term we like to embrace, it can be key to accessing various types of support.

Carol overcame her nerves and shares how glad she was.

"I have found it supportive, illuminating and it makes me smile"

She enjoys speaking with others that are in a similar position and who understand. Carol told us that she often uses video calling to speak with friends and family that live far away but prefers using a phone with others that she doesn’t know.

“No one knows, I could be sitting on a throne and wearing a crown or in bed in my pyjamas!”

Carol found herself distracted on video calls by people’s surroundings. She enjoys that speaking on the phone can spark your imagination and allows you to be taken somewhere else. She also likes that everyone is given a chance to speak and that she can hear everyone clearly.

“When we were younger, we met in person then went home and got straight back on the phone to carry on talking – it was an extension of ourselves.”

When you join a phone café the conversation changes each time. The organisers help you feel comfortable and ask a few questions in the beginning to break the ice and get you started, but the conversation naturally builds up.

“It’s lovely to just enjoy an hour, where your mind is taken away.” 

Carol wants others like her to know that she understands the hesitation to try something different, but once you take that step it can make such a difference. The phone cafés aim to connect you with others that understand and allow you to take a break, when you otherwise may not be able to leave.

“I think it’s for anyone who is at home all the time, looking after someone. It’s wonderful to leap out of ones environment and into another. It just takes your mind away for an hour.”

Need to talk?

We're here to listen. We understand the extra pressures and challenges you may be facing as you help your partner, family member or friend. Get in touch to speak to our supportive team. Call us on 0800 0388 885 or email us at (Mon - Fri, 9am - 1pm). 


Do you want to join Carol and attend a phone café? Explore our wellbeing activities for our cafés.

Need to talk? Call our Freephone Support Line on 0800 0388 885 (Mon-Fri, 9am – 1pm)