The daughter of a Christies Care client has kindly shared her mother’s story, showing the positive effects that having live in care had on her mother’s quality of life.
Bubbles – July 1st, 1921 to April 24th, 2018
Born in Ipswich, Suffolk, although moving around the country, Bubbles spent the last twenty years of her life back in her home town. She led an active life, in her years she was in the land army, following in her father’s footsteps of working the land.
After her marriage she continued to work on the farm and when family came along they spent most of their days out in the fields with her, sitting on the tractor or watching as the cows were milked, eggs collected or animal feed mixed for the animals.
After retiring from full time employment at the age of 70 years young, Bubbles took up volunteer work as a chef in a care home. Preparing meals from scratch and watching the ‘old people’ enjoy their favourite foods, at times using their own recipe.
At the age of 95, and still living independently, taking at least four holidays a year, she was still leading an active life – walking into town (a good 10 minute walk) or to the corner shop most days.
Then, out of the blue, she slipped from her chair. Unable to get up, she called for assistance and ended up in hospital. While there, picking up a chest infection, it was downhill from there, after spending 6 weeks on bed care.
When family visited she was assisted from bed to chair – afraid of being left there, she always insisted she was helped back to bed before they left. This was the only time she sat in the chair! This led to muscle weakness and, on leaving hospital, could no longer weight-bear.
Bubbles was sent home with 3 pop-in care visits a day, lasting 15 mins each. This meant she could be left for up to 16 hours with no visit. A hot cup of tea was not allowed, nor was a cup and saucer or even a mug. Instead, it was presented in a ‘tippee’ cup (yes with a lid), lukewarm and milky (her pet hate). Meals were all microwaved, and food was left in the fridge to go mouldy!
Her son-in-law would visit three times a week to collect washing, clean the fridge, make a hot cup of tea, chat and make her comfortable. Bubbles’ daughter then visited over the weekend, to tidy the house, bring the clean laundry, etc. and help with a bed bath (as the bathroom was no longer accessible). This is how Bubbles spent most of her days for three long weeks.
She started to go downhill fast and began to give up, this was no life.
Then the flat was quickly rearranged and the pop-in care agency cancelled. This is when, in Bubbles words, “an angel arrived”. Arranged by her son and daughter, a live-in carer arrived from Christies Care. The life that she thought was gone, came back. Bubbles spent one more spell in hospital, when the chest infection flared up, but every day, all day, her carer was there at her bedside.
Six days later she was back in her flat once again. Her ‘little palace’, and this is how the carers kept it. Her little home kept as she would have done if she was able to do so. Although on bed care she was not bored, but still helped as the carers involved her with ornaments to wash/polish, flowers to arrange and vegetables to prepare. And, most importantly, a hot cup of tea whenever she fancied one – and in a cup! Her favourite food cooked from scratch and a complete change of clothing daily.
She spent time in her chair most days. They played games, knitted and watched television together. And medication was on time. The afternoons were ‘me’ time when Bubbles would take a nap, read a book or do the crossword while her carer went into town, taking her down-time. Life was great.
She had some lovely carers, all with their own personality, just like Bubbles. Winter came and one morning she awoke to a mini snowman sitting on the windowsill. Spring brought the birds back to the garden and a feeder was attached outside the window that attracted a few birds.
Once again she was loving life – different, but happy!
Bubbles ended up with a regular carer. They used to have a ‘Silly Saturday’ – watching strictly was great, they would dress-up for the occasion with full make-up, following the theme of the night an eat popcorn, pancakes, ice cream, whatever was decided. Athletics was her favourite so both would sit and each pick a favourite (biscuits were placed as a bet) and they would cheer him or her along.
Christmas came and her carer surprised her with a Christmas tree that they both decorated. Bubbles hadn’t had one for years as Christmas was usually spent with family.
Sunday morning was sing along time – CD on and they were off in full voice. One summer day with the window open letting in a lovely breeze, they were both singing at the top of their voices when there was a knock on the floor (the ceiling) from the flat above asking them if they “knew what time it was?” and to calm down. That made her day, at 96 being told to calm down! Well … it was 10.30am and they had been up and about for over three hours.
Bubbles left this world on April 24th, 2018 having spent the most wonderful past year with her very special, well-trained live-in carers – one by her side to the end (after making her favourite cup of tea).
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