In recognition of Parkinson’s Awareness Week, launching on the 11th April, we take another look at Arthur’s story:
My father Arthur is 76 and lives in North London with my mother, Maisie. He has Parkinson’s and needs quite a bit of help every day to get up and dressed, eat good meals, take his pills and get out and about.
His speech is not very good and if you don’t know him well, it is hard to understand what he has to say. He now uses a wheelchair, which he needs someone to push. He also has difficulty in swallowing which makes eating and taking medication a big worry – especially because he is on such a strict regime with his medication.
We had been using an hourly care agency to take the pressure off my mother, but his needs were increasing, and she was struggling to cope. Most worrying for me was that the carers were coming at unpredictable times, which made it harder to know if he was taking the right medication at the right time. There always seemed to be new faces coming to the door. They did not understand my father and I think he found all the changes very tiring. I wanted to find out more about live-in care and talked to The Good Care Group to see what their Parkinson’s home care service could offer.
We spoke about his increasing needs and how he would feel more comfortable with male carers. They introduced us to Henry and Bob, two carers fully trained by The Good Care Group using Parkinson’s UK materials. They were able to provide specialist round-the-clock support for his condition.
Best of all they were matched to my father perfectly. They both loved their motorsport – my father spent most of his working life in that industry – so there was plenty of common ground between them.
Live-in care gives us the flexibility and continuity we wanted for him. Flexible because Parkinson’s can be unpredictable – some days the symptoms are worse than others. Now we have the continuity with the same two carers, he has a settled routine that is built around him and when he needs to take his medication.
The carers have supported his physio regime by providing some gentle exercises that improve his mobility and make him more independent. They have also sorted out day trips for him and my mother – they had a picnic recently in Regent’s Park, where Henry took care of the practical things, so they could just enjoy themselves.
Both Henry and Bob have done wonders for my father this last year. They can interpret his needs because they have got to know him so well. They slow things down, so they can continually check that dad is content with what is happening and have on-going discussions about his likes and dislikes and build this into his everyday life.
They have taken the burden off my mother and allowed her to be his wife, not his carer. It has had such a big impact on him because he is now enjoying life a lot more – and that has also given me tremendous peace of mind. Thank you for all you have done.