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Les & Audrey - Their legacy lives on

Published on 22 June 2023 12:49 PM

A beautiful story of how we helped Husband and Wife through their later life, and how they thanked us at the end.

It's Autumn 2011. Audrey and Les, are sat with their GP. When she next speaks to them, their lives changed forever. She delivers the diagnosis of early onset dementia to Audrey, Les tightly holds Audrey’s hand as together they listen to what happens next. They thank the GP and leave the surgery quietly, both tearful and shaken. As the days and weeks pass, they seek out the help and support they need and find Age UK Lancashire.

When Les contacts Age UK Lancashire, Audrey is referred to the Dementia Services who offer companionship, support and information. Audrey is offered   the opportunity to attend the Day Club nearest to her and they are invited to go and have a look. They meet the team at the Day Club who offer a warm smile and a cup of tea. The team chat to them about the club, what activities they do, how much it costs and what support they will receive. They agree to try a taster session (a cost-free day to see how Audrey feels). Les gives her a kiss goodbye and promises to pick her up in a couple of hours. By the time Les comes back, Audrey is happy, clapping to the songs being played and tapping her feet to the beat. The staff tell Les how Audrey fit very well into the group, talking about her life at home, playing games and enjoying the food offered. Asked if she wants to come back, she nods and says thankyou to the staff.

After that, Les dropped Audrey off at the day club every week, for three years. He always kissed her goodbye and promised to pick her up at 3pm. Audrey was loved at the Club, and she took part in all the activities. Audrey finished her time at the Club in 2014 when she was not well enough to continue attending.

Sadly, Audrey passed away in 2014.

In late 2018 Les was found outside in a confused state in the early hours. He was taken to hospital had some treatment and was assessed. The medical team suspected early onset dementia and an appointment for a memory test was made. He was later diagnosed with Vascular Dementia. Following the diagnosis, Les was ready for discharge and the Hospital After Care team at Age UK Lancashire were contacted to take him home and help him settle back in. Gillian and Helen from the Hospital After Care team were going to support Les for the next 6 weeks.

When first taking Les home from hospital, it became apparent his house key was missing and so Helen contacted Les’ sister Marian who met them at the house. Together they settled him into his home, making him a cup of tea and some toast. Due to Les’ deterioration, he was no longer able to drive. A key safe was installed for both family, and carers and a lifeline pendant was given to Les. After some initial checks and a little chat Helen did a food shop for him and referred him to other external services for various support. Before Helen left, she made an appointment for the following Friday.

It was Gillian who met with Les the following Friday, he was dressed for the shops and happy to get some fresh air. Together Gillian and Les drove to Aldi and did a small food shop, all the while chatting about everyday life and how Age UK Lancashire had helped Audrey with her dementia. They had a chat with Marian and ensured everything was okay.

For 6 weeks, Helen and Gillian visited Les and together they built an incredible bond. No matter what Les needed they did their very best to help and support him. They helped him to order clothes through a catalogue, set up doctor appointments for his eyes & mouth which were causing him some problems and carried out chores around the house. Marian occasionally attended the days Gillian and Helen were there and together they chatted about life.

A day before New Year, Les had tumbled down the stairs, injuring his hand. During this time, Les was suffering with a cold, and other conditions which was highlighted with his GP. Following a short trip to Aldi, Gillian called Marian to discuss final preparations and who to contact for further assistance, especially with Attendance Allowance and hot meal deliveries. This was our last day with Les and his sister Marian.

Marian and Les both thanked Gillian and Helen for all the help and support they had given and they were forever grateful for everything they had done. It was clear the support we had provided was key to Les’ recovery. Not only that, but the companionship that was built also made him feel safe and secure. For Marian, knowing that her brother had someone coming to see him weekly was also a comfort.

Our lovely Les passed away in 2021.

In 2023 we received notification of a gift left in Les’ Will. A significant sum which no doubt expressed his gratitude for all of our help and support, not only for himself but for Audrey too.

Les’s gift will allow us to directly help those who need us the most. We will be able to provide a variety of activities at our Day Centres & Cognitive Stimulation Therapy Groups which help create friendship, inclusion and helps keep members active. We will also be able to answer more phone calls to those who need advice and support.

We are forever grateful to Les and Audrey. Their legacy will live on through the work we continue to carry out and the much-needed services we continue to deliver.