“We have a good laugh.”
So says 73-year-old dementia sufferer Eileen Blunt about the quality time she spends with her new-found friend.
Eileen, a former long-standing Kirklees councillor, is leading a full and active life, thanks to the devotion of her husband David, 67, and the “befriending” service provided by The Care Collection, an Edgerton-based home care provider with a difference.
Eileen receives twice-weekly visits from her Care Collection friend, Summer Paul, who takes her on half-day trips – allowing David to get on with mundane household chores.
Summer began befriending Eileen less than four months ago, but the two are already good pals.
David said: “Summer provides someone different for Eileen to spend time with – taking her swimming, visiting garden centres or going shopping. My wife loves animals, so they will go to places where she can see animals. It means she’s doing things out of the ordinary.”
David and Eileen, who live at Lepton, celebrate their 42nd wedding anniversary in July.
They met in York and were married in David’s home town of Chesterfield, Before his retirement, he was head of compliance for Imperial Tobacco – a role that took him all over the UK and abroad.
Eileen was diagnosed with dementia eight years ago and her condition can vary from day to day. “You can only really deal from one day to the next,” said David.
Seeking additional help, David was put in touch with The Care Collection by The Admiral Nurses – specialist dementia nurses who give expert practical, clinical and emotional support to families living with dementia.
“Our use of the service of The Care Collection started with a recommendation from The Admiral Nurses as we were looking for support for myself,” said David. “I was looking for someone on an ongoing basis to spend a couple of mornings a week with Eileen for companionship and to give her some other stimulus apart from myself.
“Eileen looks forward to Summer coming. She says ‘we have a laugh’ which is the main thing. It’s stimulating. They enjoy their times together.
“It’s been a very good match. Summer has similar interests to my wife and has taken her to various activities which I am unable to – such as swimming. It also frees me to get on with odd jobs and chores which are easier on my own.”
The Care Collection, based at Edgerton, was founded by its director, Catherine Haigh, who has an extensive background in health and social care – and firsthand experience of dealing with family members with complex conditions.
Catherine’s grandfather had dementia and her father has Asperger’s syndrome. One of Catherine’s two children is autistic with complex and profound learning disabilities.
The Care Collection team provides home care services including companionship, domestic support, help with personal care and support for people with conditions such as dementia, Parkinson’s, learning disabilities and physical and sensory impairments.
The company has been recognised as one of the top 20 home care providers in Yorkshire by independent review website www.homecare.co.uk .