“As a carer to my mum Pearl, I can honestly say that St Luke’s has been a lifeline for me in the darkest of hours. My mum was diagnosed with vascular dementia 18 months ago and is classed as being ʻend of life’. Of course I want what’s best for my mum and, in our case, that is for her to live with me for whatever time she has left – but it’s hard, really hard, and that’s where St Luke’s have stepped in with their new Night Care Service.
Even though I have fantastic support from my partner, a friend and my sister Jan, having St Luke’s sit with my mum occasionally overnight is the greatest help I could wish for. It doesn’t seem like a lot but it is honestly the best support I get. It means that I can go to bed without worrying and without keeping one ear open in case Mum gets up in the night and becomes agitated. It is such a relief. I always say that I’m the sort of person that can cope with anything – as long as I’ve had enough sleep!
Vascular dementia is a cruel disease. My mum can become very agitated and aggressive and I can’t contain her, she hallucinates and she barely sleeps. Recently we were having a very bad weekend when St Luke’s called to say that Emma could come on the Saturday night and it meant the world because I was literally on my knees. I don’t know how I would have coped with another sleepless night.
St Luke’s Night Care is such a valuable new service. By supporting the carer, the Hospice is helping families like mine to stay together at home for as long as possible. Caring for a relative 24/7 is really hard and there are times when Mum is in a dark place and sees me as the enemy, but then at other times she’s kissing me on the head while I’m helping her dress and those moments are precious.”