Gill's story

“Because of Sue Ryder I am a valued as an individual and not as an invalid"

“As different carers came and went it was difficult to form an understanding relationship with them, which added in turn led to my increasing frustration.

“I found it even more distressing when the care agency insisted that when my bed was to be moved downstairs into the breakfast/utility room, it was and at that point I felt totally helpless. And that what was left of my dignity, had been finally taken away. At first I relied on my husband a great deal however during the progression of the MS the strain on him began to tell, he was working full time and when he was at home he was irritable and short tempered. Clearly the situation we were in was causing him stress. The final straw came when social services suggested major alterations to the house. I then became seriously worried about my husband, who would not talk about the situation we were in, so I talked to the social worker. She understood the problem and talked to my husband.

"Following the meeting her opinion was that he was heading for a nervous breakdown or worse, he would walk out and leave me."

Difficult decisions

“With the help of my social worker, she helped my husband to face up to the situation and have an honest talk with me instead of bottling it all up. We spoke frankly about the effects on our home and family life, realising how extensive our problems were. Out of concern for us all I announced that it would be best for all of us if I went into full time professional care.

“Can you imagine the emotional ups and downs that we all went through, but in the end the family knew that it was the only answer. But where should I go? A place that would be within easy reach for my family, provide quality time with them and that could also care for my needs.

“The answer came in the form of a Sue Ryder care centre. After a visit and a short stay we all knew that this was the place. A caring environment, my own room and the freedom to do whatever I would be capable of."

Adjusting to change

“But, when I moved into the home I had surrounded myself with a steel like barrier to protect myself from further hurt, anger or upset. I was not a very pleasant person.

“But all that has now changed.

“I have now been a resident at the Sue Ryder care centre at Cuerden Hall, near Preston for 9 years. During this time thanks to the ethos of Sue Ryder and the dedication of the staff I live one day at a time and am not institutionalised.”

“I now have learnt once more to trust and relate to the world in general. Sue Ryder have gone even further. They approached the Head of a local school and persuaded him that although disabled, on a voluntary basis I could help the children with their reading. I am transported in the Sue Ryder customised vehicles to and from the school one afternoon and three mornings per week"

Independence and freedom to live

“I have purpose in life and my great joy is that the children see and talk to me, the teacher, not someone in a wheelchair.

“I am taken on shopping trips, to the cinema and on other excursions. Better still my husband and sons are authorised to drive the customised vehicles, so which means we can have family trips out to restaurants and other occasions.

“Although I will never accept my MS, with the help of Sue Ryder, I have come to understand that it is now part of my life. And this evening is an occasion to publicly thank Sue Ryder Care for giving me a new lease of life.

“In the United Kingdom there are many people whose illnesses and conditions are difficult to provide for within the NHS and private care homes. This is where Sue Ryder can make a difference. And I beg you, in view of the report you have just heard, it is vital that this provider of care is given every support by the government.

“Look at me and remember.

“Because of Sue Ryder I am a valued as an individual and not as an invalid.

“Thank you for listening.”


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