St Clare marks national Carers Week

Lifestyle / Thu 4th Jun 2015 at 12:05pm

St Clare CarersTHE vital contribution made by the UK’s 6.5million unpaid carers is being recognised by St Clare Hospice as it marks Carers Week.

As part of the national awareness campaign, the Hastingwood-based charity is highlighting some of the ways its compassionate care and support extends to the whole circle of family, friends and carers, as well as the person who is ill.

Linda Smith is one relative who has been coming along to Day Therapy as the carer for her husband Richard, who is being supported by the Hospice after he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

Linda said: “When Richard was first referred to the Hospice, as his carer I had no idea the support offered by St Clare extended to me too. After he had been along to Day Therapy a few times, the carers group was mentioned to me and I was also surprised, but pleased to learn, there was also the chance for me to go along to the neurology group too.

“As a carer when you’re at home looking after someone you can feel quite isolated, so to be given the chance to come to a place where there are other people who are all doing exactly the same is a wonderful thing. Everyone in the group is facing a similar situation and dealing with similar symptoms, and there is a great feeling of support. What I’ve found particularly useful is people have different strategies to cope, and it’s been good to share those experiences and learn from what has been helpful to others.

“Coming to Day Therapy has broadened both our horizons. It’s given me the confidence that, whatever happens, we can face it.”

Richard said: “The team are very sensitive to every person’s individual needs, and work together to deliver holistic support. St Clare has changed my outlook from one of near despondency to being positive, and also somewhat creative in my approach to coping.

“The group work has been important as well and I believe talking and sharing problems and experiences has helped me to come to terms with my condition. By confronting my fears, they are found to be less daunting, especially after discovering that others have them too. St Clare has shown me how lucky I am compared to others, and how there is always hope even when a cure is not possible.

“They help you leave your old life behind, manage the disease and change attitudes to better cope with change, thereby making a difficult life more worthwhile for both the patient and their family.”

To read more of Linda and Richard’s stories, or for more information about the services provided by St Clare Hospice, visit www.stclarehospice.org.uk.

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