“I recently had an accident which blinded me. One moment I could see and the next I was completely blind. I was helpless. I live alone, but I needed someone to be there to give me medication 4 times a day, as well as give me food, guide me around the house and so on. My daughter organised a live-in carer from Christies Care, who arrived within 24 hours of asking for help. He looked after me for the two weeks while my sight recovered. He was a crutch when I needed one.
“I am one of eight boys and have always stood on my own two feet. I won the boxing cup when I was in the army, fought in Africa and in Italy and stayed fit all my life. Until I was 80 I swam a mile a day. In the last few years my body has started to let me down a bit, but I like to stay active and independent. I’m adaptable. When my wife died, I had never cooked for myself, so I learned to cook. So I hate it when people come and start to interfere and try to run my life for me. Just because I’m old doesn’t mean that I can’t run my own life how I want.”
“So when I had a new shower and scalding hot water got into my one good eye and blinded me, I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want my daughter to take time off work to look after me – for a start I didn’t know how long it would take to get better. I didn’t want anybody interfering.”
“But I needed help!”
“Gary, the carer who came from Christies Care, was perfect. He did what needed to be done, but he didn’t interfere. I usually go to a lunch club every Thursday, so when my eye was good enough, Gary took me to the bus station and put me on the bus to the lunch club. That was just the sort of nudge I needed to start being independent again. He was a godsend.
“I hope I never need anybody to look after me again but if I do, I’d have Gary back like a shot.”