Carers Week 2021 – Shining a Light on the Carers
The theme of this year’s Carers Week is to Make Caring Visible and Valued. Many of our customers are helped by friends and family who work unpaid as carers. To shine a light on some of the incredible work which carers do, we met with Dave and Jen Stewart. We’re extremely proud to support Jen in her role as Dave’s main carer.
Dave and Jen Stewart have been customers of Care2Connect for many years. Dave, who’s 77, has had Secondary Progressive MS for about 50 years. He worked for 10 years with the condition, without knowing it was MS. When he was made redundant his condition was finally diagnosed and he began treatment. In his late forties Dave’s mobility deteriorated and although he was reluctant to use a wheelchair full time, he accepted the need after frequently becoming too tired from walking. At this point Jen became more involved in Dave’s care, and their bungalow home – where they’ve remained over the years – was adapted.
As Dave’s condition deteriorated over the years his care package has increased. He now receives four care visits a day from two members of the Care2Connect team. A respite session of four hours once a week is also provided. Dave thoroughly enjoys this time as he gets to do things he enjoys; he calls it ‘his’ time. Jen plans her time off to meet with friends and family, confident that Dave is in safe hands.
About 16 years ago Jen felt exhausted from lack of sleep, especially with Dave falling out of bed frequently. Their GP intervened, and Dave was admitted to Donald Wilson House, a specialist centre, for a couple of weeks, where he was placed on the correct medication for his condition. A homecare package was put in place to provide support for Dave and Jen in the mornings.
Dave and Jen feel that their lives wouldn’t be the same without care, which is a “God send for both of us”.
Jen feels she’d be unable to cope with supporting Dave alone; his care needs are complex and she has her own health issues. Over the years they’ve built up confidence and a great rapport with the Care2Connect team – Dave has even given them all nicknames! During the morning call Jen takes herself off to have her breakfast for some quiet time, whilst Dave receives a shower and enjoys banter with the care staff. Jen knows that Dave is cared for as she would do herself, and the couple are always so appreciative for everything that’s done for them. In Dave’s words “my care couldn’t be any better than it is now”.