Betty & Jack

Although it’s my husband Jack who is a day patient here at Willow Wood – he has Parkinson’s Disease and has recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer as well – I come along every week to the support group with him, and really look forward to it.

Coming to the group has had a big impact on our lives. It helps both of us so much and when we couldn’t come due to the pandemic, we really missed it and felt so isolated. Our daughter is lovely, and of course I can talk to her, but did feel I needed something more. The staff and volunteers are so knowledgeable and can give the support we need; if we have any queries or worries, they can give us advice and point us in the right direction.

They’re so friendly too and full of fun, we can always have a laugh together. That’s something that people don’t expect, it’s not a sad place. It’s calm but happy, although I’ll admit we were both a bit apprehensive when I first rang to see if we could get some support. That’s another good thing, you can refer yourself or a member of your family to the Day Services, there’s no need to wait for a doctor’s referral. We came for an assessment and saw Mandy, one of the nurses. From walking in the front door the atmosphere is just so wonderful and Mandy was lovely, she really put us at ease.

There’s the social aspect too. I’ve been involved with the gardening group and we’re both taking part in arts and crafts – I love doing the artworks and chatting with others in the group.

I do have experience of the end-of-life care as well, as my brother spent his last days on the Inpatient Unit. I can’t fault the care he received and with no restrictions on visiting, felt that the whole family was looked after. He wasn’t in pain, it was dignified and there was no fear, just a calm, loving, supportive atmosphere.

I can’t put into words what Willow Wood means to us. What I can say is don’t be frightened and if you are diagnosed with a life-limiting condition I’d advise anyone to come. It’s a wonderful experience.

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