Kay's father was diagnosed with dementia and the Hospice supported him and the family. This is Kay's story.
'Lisa asked if I’d tell you about my Dad and how she helped him – well, all of us really – to cope as he reached the end of his days. And I’m really happy to do so. Lisa was so important to all of us and if I can help to make sure another family gets to meet her, then wonderful.
'Dad died on 1st January 2016, in bed, in his bedroom, at home. Lisa made that possible.
'Dementia is a wicked disease. Dad was an active, outgoing, healthy man who loved his DIY, always pottering about. The disease took that away from him, took away the man I knew as my father and replaced him with someone who didn’t want to see people; someone who shrunk away from the world.
'When we met Lisa, we’d already gone through a hell of a journey. He’d been in and out of hospital for a couple of years and my husband and I had been forced to sell up and move in with Mum and Dad because Mum just couldn’t cope. Lisa came in to see us when he was about to leave hospital – again. She promised to come and see us at home, said not to worry, that she could give us the help we needed.
'Do you know, a weight was lifted that day. We’d been caring for Dad for so long and it had become more and more of a struggle. Not that we minded, we just didn’t know what was the best for him. But Lisa kept her promise, came round to see us. Sorted Dad’s medicines out, which made him a lot calmer. Lisa gave us her number and said we could call her any time, any hour of the day. That was a massive relief in itself, just knowing that we had someone to call.
'Dad slowly slipped away over the next three weeks. He forgot a lot of things. But, he never forgot our names and I know many people with dementia do. That gave us all such comfort; it certainly meant a lot to me to hear him say my name towards the end.
'One day I was sat on his bed and he just looked at me and said, ‘I love you all and I don’t want to leave you. But I’ve got to go.’ He knew, even through all the confusion in his mind, it was his time.
'Lisa was over to see us almost every day. She was our rock, made sure Dad was okay and always made time to help us understand what was going on. She nursed all of us, not just Dad if that makes sense? We’d have been so lost without her. Families like ours need her – but it’s not until you get there that you realise how much.
'After Dad died I was determined to help Lisa by raising some money that could help the Hospice care for other families in the future. We were able to pull together £700 and Lisa said she’d like to spend that on bringing the ‘Dementia Bus’ to the Hospice. It’s a training vehicle that goes around the whole UK, training nurses and volunteers on
what it’s like to have dementia – and how best to care for them.
'Dad had to go. But he went in the best way he could have – and that was thanks to Lisa and Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice. I can’t tell you enough how important it is for our community.'