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
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 Beth’s diagnosis left her withdrawn and distressed, so her GP referred her to Hertswise for one-to-one support.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