World Alzheimer's Month: Lindsay's Story
To mark World Alzheimer’s Month, Rapport Housing & Care is speaking to those working and living in our care homes about their experiences. Lindsay Reece, whose mum, Doreen Embling, lives at Barnes Lodge in Tonbridge, kindly shared her story of choosing a care home for her mum.
“I first started to think about care for my mum when she developed dementia several years ago. She was living in Dorchester in a flat with dad and I used to visit regularly. When I went on holiday, I organised some respite care for mum but unfortunately, whilst I was away, dad had a fall. He passed away shortly after. I wanted mum closer to me, so I started looking at care homes here, I viewed 13! I work in the care sector so knew a bit about what I was looking for. When I viewed Woodgate, I just knew it was the right place, it was old and tired but so welcoming and homely.
“It was stressful making the move, but Cheryl and the team were amazing, not just for mum but for me too. The care has always been exceptional, and I’m always kept in the loop. They don’t just look after the residents here, they look after the families too. When Barnes Lodge opened, I was worried about mum moving over, it was a lot bigger and I thought it might lose its soul, but it didn’t, not at all, it still has all the soul it had before and more.“I think one of the best things about the home is that the staff take the time. They are in such a demanding role, but they are always there for her, they ask questions and take the time to get to know her and her needs. Nikki, her key worker, is just the light of her life and the home manager, Nicky is just always so welcoming and such a delight.
“I moved to Bournemouth recently to be closer to my children and grandchildren, but it was never an option to move mum, this is her home now. When I leave, I know she is well looked after, from the care workers to the cleanliness and the laundry, it’s all kept beautifully, and I know I can trust them.“I often use the bookcase analogy to describe dementia, the top shelf comprises the most recent memories, the middle would be less recent memories such as marriage and having children and the bottom shelf features the memories of childhood. Mum’s dementia is on the bottom shelf now. She still thinks her parents are around, she often asks questions about mummy and daddy and if I’ve seen them and I tell her they are well. My husband found it difficult at first, but it would achieve nothing to tell her they have passed away.
“I visit every 10 days and the staff are always so welcoming after a long drive, offering me tea and coffee and lunch, or even just a friendly face to talk to. I think what has been created here at Barnes Lodge is exemplary and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone.”