Jenny’s Story

Older woman and young woman

Jenny* lived nearby her mother Sandra*, and did a lot to help her during the day as Sandra had begun to show signs of memory loss. It wasn’t long before Jenny noticed that Sandra was neglecting herself in her daughter’s absence; she struggled with basic self-care, forgetting when she had last eaten and skipping meals.

Because her mother hadn’t been formally diagnosed with dementia, Jenny struggled to find the support she needed until she came across Hertswise.

Jenny reached out to our team to explain her difficult situation and was relieved to hear that her local dementia support worker could help. She and her mother were referred to a variety of local services who could help with some of the gaps in care, such as Meals on Wheels. Sandra was also invited to try 1:1 support, and both she and Jenny are looking forward to joining their local Dementia Hub and Carer’s Group, where they can become part of a community who can understand their journey.

*Names changed to protect privacy

Archie’s Story

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

As his dementia progressed, Archie* started to become withdrawn and reluctant to speak much, especially with new people. Concerned, his wife Margaret and daughter Jen got in touch with Hertswise for more information about their local Dementia Hubs. Hertswise Dementia Hubs offer a sense of community among local people affected by dementia, as well as access to information, support and a variety activities based on the needs and interests of attendees.

Archie came to his first Hub session accompanied by Margaret and Jen to hear about the activities planned for the day. Archie joined in with the chair-based exercise session, which he decided he “enjoyed a lot” – so much so that he agreed he would return the following week.

Although nervous, Archie turned up to the next session by himself, with both Margaret and Jen rather anxious to see how he would cope at the Hub alone. When Archie arrived, a Hertswise team member waited at the door to greet him and tell him all about the singer they had visiting that day. Excited for an afternoon of live music, Archie overcame his nerves and was ready to dive into the session.

At the end of the afternoon, Margaret and Jen came to meet Archie and were thrilled to find him with a huge smile on his face. “I enjoyed that session,” he told them.

Archie has been attending his local Hub ever since.

 

* Names have been changed to protect privacy

Marketing Volunteer Needed!

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Photo credit: Damien Zaleski via UnSplash

We are looking for a volunteer to support our staff in marketing the services they provide to local people affected by dementia. Ideally, you will have a full driving licence and access to a car as it will be necessary to visit our local hubs and support groups to keep engaged with the service.

This is an interesting and varied role, with opportunities to work on social media, website management, press releases and more. You will be well supported by our staff and appropriate guidance will be provided.

We’re looking for someone outgoing and creative, with excellent communication skills and an interest in both traditional and digital marketing practices. If this sounds like you, please get in touch!

You can apply for this role by visiting:

https://www.ageuk.org.uk/hertfordshire/get-involved/volunteer/apply-to-volunteer/

*All volunteers are recruited subject to references and a clear enhanced DBS

Debbie’s Story

Debbie's Story

Debbie*, 41, is both wife and carer to 66 year old Mike*, who has been living with young-onset dementia. While preparing to return to work part-time after an extended leave, Debbie became concerned about finding someone she trusted to support and care for her husband while she was away.

Debbie got in touch with Hertswise, who were able to refer her to several services that could help. Through these referrals, Home Instead found Mike a companion who could provide one-to-one support while his wife was working. The people at Crossroads assisted Debbie with an application for a ‘Helping You Care’ grant that would help them financially as she could no longer work full time.

Meanwhile, the team at Hertswise put Debbie in touch with our Young Onset Dementia Worker, who runs groups and activities for local people affected by young-onset dementia. Debbie and Mike started attending one of these local groups early this year, and have been looking forward to it every week since.

* Names have been changed to protect privacy

Beth’s Story

Beth's Story

Diagnosed with probable Alzheimer’s, Beth* quickly became reluctant to leave the house, to the point that her husband Eddie* worried about her mobility. Beth’s diagnosis left her withdrawn and distressed, so her GP referred her to Hertswise for one-to-one support.

At her first one-to-one appointment, Beth admitted that she didn’t want to join groups or social activities as she lacked the confidence – but over the next few sessions, she began to feel more like herself. With some chair-based exercise to help with mobility and short walks around her neighbourhood, Beth’s confidence began to grow.

Over the 10 weeks of one-to-one sessions, Beth and Eddie found that the help they received through Hertswise was making a noticeable improvement. Beth loved to chat about her past and fond memories, so her Hertswise support worker helped her create a Lifebook to record these memories. The couple were also referred to Age UK Hertfordshire’s Information and Advice team, who checked their eligibility for the Blue Badge scheme and other benefits that would relieve some financial pressure. Their Hertswise support worker noticed that Eddie was struggling to manage the household by himself, with tasks like the weekly shopping leaving him utterly exhausted. With a referral to HILs Community Meals on Wheels, they began to receive healthy meals delivered right to their door, leaving Eddie more time to rest – and to spend with Beth.

Though Beth’s initial diagnosis severely shook her confidence, 10 weeks with a Hertswise support worker has made living with dementia an easier and more fulfilling for both Beth and Eddie.

 

*Names have been changed to protect privacy