A Bakewell–based charity is providing relief to carers in the Peaks with a night sitting service.
Helen’s Trust has been enlisted by NHS North Derbyshire and Hardwick Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to provide a night sitting service for patients at the end of their lives.
When her father died suddenly last year, Edwina Catherwood was the sole carer for her mother, Doreen Andrew.
Aged 82, Doreen suffers from Alzheimer’s and dementia and still lives in her family home in Bradwell.
“She can’t do anything for herself,” Edwina explained. “She can’t drink or eat any food. She needs care 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
The 55–year–old, of Chesterfield, was feeling the strain working a full time job at an accountancy firm in Buxton and then looking after her mother.
“I was here all the time and I wasn’t seeing my husband much,” she said.
“Some nights she doesn’t open her mouth, so I can go from 5pm until 8pm just trying to get her to eat.”
It was a relief when Helen’s Trust approached Edwina, after the charity had been alerted to her situation.
“When Helen’s Trust approached me I found it quite emotional. It was the first time someone had done that,” she said.
“It enabled me to go home at weekends and gave me some respite care.”
On top of that, because Helen’s Trust’s service is free, it meant Edwina wasn’t trying to scrape any more money together to pay for it.
“It’s taken a bit of weight off financially,” she added. “I couldn’t afford to have much more care because it costs too much. I probably would have been trodden into the ground.”
Edwina was so grateful for the help that she recently organised a coffee morning, raising around £730 for Helen’s Trust.
Helen Carr, of the charity, said: “We’re not saying being at home is better, we’re saying we want people to have a genuine choice where they live.”
Edwina said she wanted her mother to stay at home so she could have one to one care.
“She’s been in this house for 52 years and she’s a big part of the village,” she added.
“She used to work in the newsagents and she was a steward at the Methodist church. People still come in and see her all the time.”
The charity will be available seven days a week from 10pm to 7am, enabling patients to remain at home instead of having to go into hospital, paid for by the CCG.
Helen added: “We help around 170 people every year with a variety of things that support people who have a terminal illness and want to remain in their own homes.”
For more, visit www.helenstrust.org.uk. Call the referral team on 07780331715.