THERE was a party atmosphere at Chichester Careline on Thursday (July 9) as it marked its 30th birthday.
Those whose daily independence relies on the service’s support gathered with those who run Careline at its Florence Road base.
One of those people was Rose Dunn, 64, from Woolbeding, whose husband John’s life was saved by Careline’s Mindme device.
He has Alzheimer’s and one day went missing when the couple were on holiday. Mindme has an in-built GPS locator and he was found thanks to the response centre instructing a South Western Ambulance volunteer responder and the Lulworth Coastguard Rescue Team, which had joined the family in their search.
John was taken to hospital with the early signs of hypothermia.
He now lives in a residential home, but while he was still at home with Rose she often needed help locating John on Woolbeding Common after he left the house.
She joked the response team got to know Woolbeding Common even better than she did.
“They’ve been absolutely brilliant,” said Rose. “They’ve made our life bearable because we were safe.
“It gave us the freedom of living a normal life.”
Another beneficiary of the Mindme device is 53-year-old Trish O’Brien.
Trish, from Parklands, has multiple sclerosis and is keen to highlight that Careline’s service is not just for the elderly.
“I would really like to encourage younger people to approach them,” she said.
“It’s quite isolating, I’ve realised, having a disability and it’s quite scary.
“I don’t think enough people realise that they’re not just for elderly people – they’re not.”
Trish collapsed at home one day, back in 2013, and could not get to a phone immediately. After that, she spotted an article in a copy of the district council’s Initiatives magazine.
“I must admit initially I thought it was just for elderly people,” said Trish, but after her fall she thought it might be worth ringing up about.
She had an alarm fitted in her house which her Canine Partner dog is trained to press in an emergency.
When out and about, Trish also has a Mindme alarm, which she can press if there are any problems.
She will instantly be able to speak with a 24/7 response centre.
All the Careline technology gives Trish a new lease of life.
“I live by myself and I’ve had so many bad falls and broken so many bones,” she said. “It’s scary and it made me nervous. Now I’ve got this one round my neck I don’t feel nervous at all.”
As well as helping her, she said it also helped friends and relatives, who were given ‘peace of mind’ that there was always on-hand to help.
This was a view shared by Linda Titheridge, 52, from Southbourne.
She had an accident more than 20 years ago that left her with a head injury and unable to remember anything from her life before. She is also sensitive to noise and light.
West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service has silenced her fire alarm, instead rerouting it to Careline’s control centre in Florence Road, Chichester. They can then contact her if an alarm is detected.
“It’s just meant I’ve been able to keep my independence all of those years,” said Linda, adding it was ‘great’ to keep her freedom.
“It’s good for my family and friend as they know they’ve not go to worry,” she added.
After 19 years, she said she knew the team at Careline very well.
“All the people and the team here, they’re all good friends,” she said.
Careline manager Brenda Jackson said she could not get over the number of people who had turned up and thanked every single one of them.
“It’s been an absolutely amazing day,” she said of the 30 years’ celebration.
“It’s really funny because I’ve worked here for 24 of them and to be honest I don’t know where the time has gone. It seems like yesterday that I joined.”
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