Lisa & Margeurita

We all think our mums are the best, but my mum Margeurita really is. All through my childhood and beyond she’s been there for me, supporting me, loving me, laughing with me and with my children too, she was a fantastic Nana. Growing up, our house was always so well kept, but so welcoming to family and friends.

Mum was the same; always well-groomed with beautiful baby blonde hair, she took such a pride in her appearance. I was devastated when, seven years ago, she was diagnosed with dementia. Her mother, my grandma, had Alzheimer’s and had to go into a care home – I didn’t want that for my mum, and neither did she. While we were still able to discuss matters, she told me that she wanted to stay in her own home, to maintain her independence and dignity as long as she could. It was a promise I was glad to make.

It’s not been easy. Mum has been unable to care for herself for some years, and now can’t speak, walk or feed herself, and I felt very alone. Earlier this year she was put on end of life care, and we were told that she wouldn’t be with us for much longer. That was when Nic, one of Willow Wood’s two specialist dementia nurses came on the scene.

Mum had been having a series of chest infections, just one after the other – 13 in two years. Nic noticed that she was aspirating food and immediately gave us advice. Stroking mum’s cheeks and throat while eating – such a simple thing to do, but it helped mum swallow. And Nic was amazing in so many other ways. She’s contacted the hospital and ensured we got the correct equipment to ensure mum’s health and safety. She hasn’t had a chest infection now for seven months. Nic’s even phoned us from her home, and has always been there for us.

This just proves the value of specialist dementia nurses out in the community. Not only has she helped us such a lot by giving us advice and strategies to cope, in the long run it’s saving money too. Reducing the need for doctor’s visits, or other interventions has saved us some traumatic moments, but also saved their expense, which would have been a substantial sum.

I honestly believe that mum wouldn’t be here without Nic. I don’t know how much longer we’ll have together, but these days are so precious and have been made so much easier with the support we’re getting from Willow Wood. Nic’s given me the strength to carry on.

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