Helping members to recharge and recover

Updated: 10 Apr 2024

When you’re going through a tough time, it means the world to know you have people by your side to help you to cope and feel better.

Convalescence and carers support

This was the case for dad-of-one and Nottinghamshire-based member, Rob, who had been through a difficult year.

A call on the Oddfellows Care and Welfare Helpline led to a discussion about his circumstances, as well as whether a break through the Oddfellows’ Convalescence Home Benefit could help.

Offering practical help

The Oddfellows’ convalescence and carers support is there to offer practical help to members who are coping with or recovering from a significant health problem, accident, bereavement or traumatic experience, or who need respite from the pressures of unpaid caring responsibilities.

Available from the start of the third year of consecutive membership, it comprises of three discretionary benefits – Convalescence Home Benefit, Carer’s Respite Benefit and Convalescence Care Benefit.*

A convalescence break

The Convalescence Home Benefit often helps members take a break in one of our partner facilities to support their recovery from operations such as hip or knee replacements, or after a fall.

Headshot of member RobSometimes the benefit can be used a little differently. For Rob, pictured, it helped him and his young son to take a break together in 2023, and supported his recovery from a combination of health problems and other pressures that led to him having a difficult year.

Through the Convalescence Home Benefit, which helps to finance a short break of up to two weeks, or two one-week breaks, he could finally put some much-needed recovery and family time in his diary with a stay at Butlin’s in Skegness.

Rob said: "I had really good support from the Oddfellows in difficult times and wanted to make others aware of the help available and to help promote the Oddfellows and their services.

"I faced a perfect storm losing a permanent position in the middle of the pandemic and then being hit by the cost of living crisis, as well as dealing with some health issues.

"It was really difficult to pull yourself through and keep things afloat for myself and my young son. I’m really grateful to the Oddfellows for their support while I was dealing with this nasty combination of events," he added.

A valued member benefit

Offering a convalescence or respite stay has been a longstanding feature of Oddfellows membership.

John Aitken, Head of the Oddfellows’ Care and Welfare Department, explains: “We get lots of thank you cards after members have been on a convalescence stay saying how being able to get some proper rest, quality time out or enjoy a change of scene was exactly what they needed.

“We’ve formed close partnerships with a number of convalescence hotels and homes across the country over the years such as the Merton House Hotel in Ross-on-Wye. It means we can be reassured of the quality of care and hospitality provided, which is important for stays of this kind.

“Of course, if our partner hotels or homes aren’t right for your situation then, as with Rob, we can explore other possibilities.

“Also travelling for a stay away might not be the best solution, for example if you’re too unwell, need to be on-hand for treatment, or if going somewhere unfamiliar could have a detrimental effect. In these cases, it might be better looking at receiving short-term care at home or even a few nights of live-in care which could be provided through our Convalescence Care Benefit,” he added.

A Home Instead carer arriving at a woman's home offering care support. Woman in opening her front door and smiling

A helping hand at home

Through the Convalescence Care Benefit, members can access up to 30 hours of care support at home, or in some circumstances, other services, therapy or equipment to support recovery.

“This is a short-term benefit to help with recovery and is not suitable for situations requiring long-term care,” explained John.

“We’ll work with you to ensure that any support given through this benefit doesn’t overlap with or replace statutory health and social care services, which is an important consideration. We’ll do our best to help wherever we can, but do contact us in good time to give us the greatest chance of sourcing and arranging a care package. This generally takes around two weeks.”

The support and help from Home Instead has been amazing. I would not have managed my recovery without it. Thank you so much. Oddfellows member

Support for carers

The most recent Census 2021 puts the estimated number of unpaid carers at 5 million in England and Wales. This, together with ONS Census data for Scotland and Northern Ireland, suggests that the number of unpaid carers across the UK is 5.7 million.

Carer's Respite Benefit has been specifically designed to give members who are full-time carers for someone who is ill or disabled to take a break.

A Home Instead carer sat with a man who is in a wheelchair at home chatting and having a laugh

John said: “We want members who are in this position to know that they are not alone and that we appreciate how difficult caring for someone is.

“This benefit covers the cost of a break for you as a carer. Alternatively, we can pay for the person you care for to stay somewhere that provides the level of care that they require, or arrange care for them at home – allowing you to take time out, but in the comfort of your own home.

“If you and the person you care for are Oddfellows members, it may be possible to use both your membership entitlements to enable the person you care for to be looked after and for you to have a break away from home.

“With all three of the benefits that make up our convalescence and carers support, it all starts with getting in touch with us to let us know about your situation. We can then look at ways in which we can best help you,” he added.

I am very grateful to you (the Oddfellows) with the way you managed my care. The Oddfellows made the process so worry-free. Without your input things would have been tough. Oddfellows member

How to find out more or apply for convalescence and carer support

If you’re a member and eligible, your first step is to contact your Branch Secretary or the Care and Welfare Helpline so we can understand your situation and explore ways in which we can help.

Support could be delivered through one, or a combination, of the Society’s care and welfare benefits, or additional help might be available through other trusted organisations.

You can find the member-only Care and Welfare Helpline number on your membership card or in your Member Handbook. Members can also access it by signing in to the Members’ Area or by calling our Membership team or their Branch.

*Eligibility criteria apply to these discretionary benefits. Terms and conditions apply to all financial benefits. All Oddfellows benefits are non-contractual and may be withdrawn at any time without notice. Read the full list of member benefit terms and conditions.

Images with thanks to Home Instead.