My husband, Andrew, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2001. This has since progressed to advanced Parkinson’s with dementia. Ever since his diagnosis, I have been his main carer, supporting him with everything he needs. We managed his care and his symptoms between us but after many years, it became too much. When I spoke to the consultant, I told him we needed some external help, but where do you get help?
I did some research and came across the Day Hospice Drop-In service. Andrew took some persuading to come but eventually we walked through those doors and we were greeted by amazing people. We were asked to fill in a questionnaire, but I have little recollection of what the questions were as I only wrote one thing on that piece of paper that day: ‘HELP!’.

And help they did. I immediately felt the tension melt away and Andrew was offered a regular session to attend the Day Hospice. This helped him but was also a lifeline for me – a chance to take a break from being a full-time carer. This was made so much easier by the fact that he loved his time at Overgate!

The staff also recommended that I start to attend their Carers Group that meet every fortnight on a Tuesday evening. Put simply, I love it. To know that I am not alone in the difficulties of caring for a loved one means so much to me. Whilst we do often share the struggles we are facing, it’s not always doom and gloom and we often have a lot of fun. It offers me some escapism from the day to day life of caring for Andrew.

We have missed the Hospice so much during the pandemic and have struggled to access the Zoom sessions – we aren’t great at technology and we miss the face to face interaction. So I was overjoyed to be invited back to an in-person Carers’ Group a few weeks ago. This joy was shortlived when it became clear that I could not continue to leave Andrew at home alone whilst I attended. I explained this to the Hospice staff who signposted me to Marie Curie for some additional support. A lovely volunteer now comes once a week to care for Andy and has offered to come at the same time of Carers’ Group so I can continue to attend. This means the world to me.

To say that the Hospice has saved my marriage would not be an understatement. Being a full-time carer is incredibly difficult and I certainly have my down days but knowing that the team at Overgate are just a phone call away if I need them gets me through and means I can be here for Andrew.

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