Processing loss and developing independence
We already knew Graham, as we had helped him to take care of his wife Julia. She had suffered from cancer and with our support, he nursed her at home, where she died with her family at her bedside – as were her wishes. Graham has two sons, James lives in Australia and Scott lives in London and he usually only sees them once or twice a year as they are both busy with their careers and lives.
Graham and Julia had been married for over forty years and had a happy life together. After the intense emotion of facing cancer, to suddenly find himself living alone for the first time in his life was a difficult change that he had to accept and this was amplified by dealing with his grief.
Care to support you around the home
Graham and his wife had always been very sociable together but after a year spent caring for his wife, he had become isolated from the community. His life had been centred around Julia and as the silence surrounded him, he realised that his confidence to pick up the phone had vanished.
The wake-up call for Graham was when he had a bout of flu and was unable to get out of bed for five days. A full recovery took him over two months and during that time he was beholden to home deliveries from the supermarket, with social contact limited to a few phone calls from James and Scott. It was at this point that he accepted that he needed help.
Graham contacted our office and spoke to Becky, the same care manager that had helped plan his wife’s care. He said that making that first call was the hardest thing he had ever done and only because he already knew Becky, did he go through with it.
Becky visited Graham at home and together they discussed his options and agreed that he only needed a ‘light touch’ of care both to support his transition to a new time of his life and to plan for his future needs.
We made arrangements to visit twice a week, to cover housework and laundry, and to help teach Graham some cooking skills.
Help maintain relationships, confidence and identity
After six months, he was managing his grief and starting to rebuild his confidence, and he then decided to join a local baking group to be sociable. Although his cooking skills were limited, the new hobby grew and Graham began to make cakes and buns to sell for his local hospice, which had supported Julia in her illness.
The new-found purpose had an incredible uplift on Graham’s well-being and he gradually became accustomed to both the new chapter of his life and to managing his grief.
Graham and Becky have discussed options for the future and he says that just knowing he has the option of more help if it is needed, helps him to cope with growing older alone.
Graham admitted that his deepest fear after his wife was diagnosed with cancer was how he would cope on his own after she had gone and he felt unable to tell anyone how scared he was. He has told us that both Becky’s help and the visits he has every week from Karen, have been immeasurable in what they have done to help him deal with his grief and boost his confidence. He now sleeps better at night knowing that if he had an accident or if he was ill again, that he would have help on hand to deal with it and that he wouldn’t be a burden to his family.
Home care can start from only an hour a week visit to suit your needs. If you need a little extra help then call our care managers to discuss your needs and we can arrange a plan for you.