Kath is a carer for her husband Graham who has been diagnosed with liver disease and emphysema.
The couple regularly attend our day therapy service the Oak Centre which Kath says has been a lifeline.
“Before we came to the Oak Centre Graham was very reclusive. He felt like he was in a goldfish bowl and couldn’t get out of it. We were told about the Oak Centre by the hospice physician and were waiting for it to open. We came on the very first day it opened thought it was brilliant.“Since we started coming Graham has really come out of his shell. He’s happier and he’s talking to other people with similar condition. He was really isolated but now he’s got a zest for life.”
Not only is Graham enjoying going to the Oak Centre Kath is also taking part in new activities and making friends.
Carers are welcome to stay and join in certain activities or simply sit and talk to other centre users, carers and volunteers.
Kath said: “I don’t have to stay here when I drop Graham off but I do because I’ve made friends myself and I love it here. I’m having counselling which is helping and I’m involved in the Wool Warriors group. We’ve both joined the choir which is fantastic. “It’s given him Graham an uplift coming here and I know I can sit down and have a brew. At home I’m up and down all the time.
“I have got support behind me here. There’s support for me as a carer and carers often get forgotten about. They are always telling me that I need to look after myself too because I always put Graham first. I’ve always been looking after other people since I was 19 so that’s 40 years now I’ve been at it. I’m slowly warming to the idea of looking after myself – it’s lovely –but it’s been hard to let go.
“Before we came to the Oak Centre the only places we ever went were to the supermarket and hospitals for appointments. I’d come here every day if I could. I really look forward to it.”
Find out more about the Oak Centre here.