Harry Kilby has lived in the same house for almost 50 years. He and his wife brought up their family there, and later, Harry looked after his terminally ill wife at home, to the end of her life. He now has dementia, but he is determined to stay in his own home, which is comfortable and familiar.
Daughter, Liz Saunders, who lives 10 miles away, organises a range of support for her father. As well as a morning home care visit, Harry has a weekly visit from a local dementia support service, which usually involves a trip out. Liz goes over two or three times a week. Harry is physically active and likes to walk each morning to pick up the paper.
The Just Checking system was provided by South Gloucestershire Council, as means of supporting Liz as a carer. It has been in for 18 months. Liz says, it has been a ‘life calmer’, and helps her to manage her care responsibilities. She can see when her father is managing the day himself, that all the other care arrangements are taking place as planned, and occasionally, when Harry has a more unsettled period, she can step in. She has been sharing the activity charts with Harry’s psychiatrist, who has been able to make changes to medication from time to time.
At the moment, Harry continues to hold a clear day and night time routine, and he’s sleeping well most of the time. He is usually up before the home carer arrives. In fact he gets up before the visit, and then returns to bed for another hour or so when the home carer has gone. Liz says…
“It’s as if he breathes a sigh of relief, and goes back to bed. It’s made me realise that the home care visit is rather intrusive for him, so I shall think carefully before adding any more. It has helped me understand my father better, so I can provide the support when he needs it, and step back when he doesn’t. It’s been a real life calmer for me.”