During World Alzheimer’s Month, we are saying a big thank you to former carer, service user and Crossroads volunteer Remo Grasso (pictured front, left) who has most generously supported a number of our community projects, including volunteering at our weekly Carers Cafe, a place he once attended as a carer himself.
Remo has been volunteering for Crossroads for over eight years and now regularly helps at our Men Who Care project. He has also fundraised in past years for the charity.
Our Men Who Care project is one of a number of bespoke community respite projects for carers. It runs monthly and brings together male carers, who are looking after family members who are living with a variety of conditions, including dementia, to build friendship and support networks as well as sharing information and receiving advice from our specialist staff.
Our weekly Carers’ Cafe offers a safe, supportive and confidential environment for carers and their loved-ones to meet people in similar circumstances and share experiences.
Remo found out about Crossroads Care when he was caring for his beloved mum, Flora, who had Alzheimer’s for 23 years.
‘The unique thing about Crossroads is that although the charity is wonderfully supportive towards the person who is ill, the primary focus is the carer,’ says Remo. ‘During the 12 years that I looked after my mother – who wasn’t just my mother but my friend too – Crossroads were amazing.
‘Caring became my life’s work, but for those two hours each week when Crossroads came into our home to care for my mother, I was able to go and have a coffee and read the newspaper, then do the supermarket shop. It doesn’t sound like much, but it really was — all carers need some time to themselves.’
Remo, who worked for British Airways for many years in several roles including crew resource management, has been volunteering since he was 17 years old.
Remo says: ‘There are so many people out there doing so much more than me to help others, and that’s the thing about volunteering, you get to meet the real heroes — the ones that are truly making a difference to people’s lives.
‘I try to do my bit – it’s dabbling really, but I just feel drawn to volunteering. I’m lucky enough to be blessed with mostly good health, so I feel like it’s my moral duty to give a little bit back.’