After working more than 42 years in the care sector, Joy and Bou Roodenburg are finally retiring and timing time out for themselves.
The couple, who live at Torpoint, currently support Karen and have done so for the last ten years as Shared Lives South West Carers.
They have known her for 30 years and she used to stay with them for respite breaks.
They have helped Karen to live her life her way and thrive.
“It’s the end of a very long era, it’s bitter sweet,” said Joy.
“We’ve loved being Shared Lives Carers but the time has come to spend more time with our children and grandchildren.
“We are getting older and don’t have as much energy, we’ve said to Karen she should trade us in for a younger model of carer.”
They couldn’t be prouder of how they’ve watched and supported Karen to grow her independence.
“A highlight for me is seeing how much Karen has come on leaps and bounds, it has been wonderful,” said Joy.
“We’ve supported Karen to be more independent and she’ll now be going to stay with my daughter Morwenna until she finds another permanent home.”
Karen talks fondly of her time with Joy and Bou and the memories she has made while living with them.
“I wanted to skydive and the supported me to do that. That was on my bucketlist and was amazing,” said Karen.
“I also wanted to see whales in the wild and they supported me with that. We went to South Africa for a month and they were so close to us in the sea. I was a dream come true.
“We also went to Gran Canaria and I’ve always wanted to try scuba diving and I did it. It was fantastic.
“I’ve also had some amazing birthday parties, one where we hired a boat and my crew came along and also had a great beach party.”
Karen is passionate about rapping and DJing and Joy and Bou have helped her develop that love. During the pandemic she has kept busy and wrote her latest composition Lockdown Blues.
“Without their support I wouldn’t be where I am today, they are like a second family to me,” said Karen.
“Performing has been amazing for me. Joy has been like a manager to me too.”
“When Karen is famous, she had better remember me,” Joy joked.
“I am more independent and have my independence and freedom. I have what I call my safe phone and it has Joy and Bou’s number on. I call them and they can call me to make sure I am ok and let them know where I am and that I’m ok,” added Karen.
Despite winding up their career in care, Joy and Boy didn’t let up on helping those who need support and offered to support two young people with mental health issues during the first lockdown on emergency placements.
Both were staying in a mental health unit that was closing.
“They were quiet and we gave them space,” said Joy.
“Over time they became slowly more involved with us and we’d go for walks, do some cooking and baking and talked more. We also bottle fed some local lambs regularly and that was an icebreaker.
“They both ended up staying for six months and made so much progress.
“We are extremely proud, as their doctor said he couldn’t believe how well they were doing and both have now gone on to live independently.
“It was also said that others who were cared for in the community from the unit had also progressed and the care during lockdown had such a positive impact.”
Joy and Bou’s swansong was winning Gold in the Supported Living category in the Devon and Cornwall Care Awards last year.
“Winning that was great a really nice way to leave and bow out,” said Joy.
The couple will have so much more time on their hands now and have already started making plans.
“We’ve bought a canal boat and plan to live on that six months of the year and then live in France as our youngest son lives there and will help him with the gardening,” said Joy.
A big thank you for your commitment and hard work Joy and Bou- we wish you well!