Story 14

Regaining independence

How can I summarise what Leonard Cheshire means to me?

Rosie in the kitchen of her home, using the washing machine

I never dreamed that I could have a chance to regain any personal care skills, or even dare think of looking after grandchildren.

I’m diabetic, needing four injections daily. In January 2004 I was a full time resident at a nursing clinic receiving 24 hour care. My husband and social worker felt I should go there for an indefinite period. I learnt my parents had also agreed it was for the best.

During my time there I got divorced. My children left school. Some went to university, others into work. I missed so much that happened. I’m only now becoming aware of their personal difficulties that were kept from me.

I moved to The Maples in the middle of March 2015. I had my doubts when I first came here. I had this huge flat with my own keys! Having come from an environment where meals, laundry, personal care and medication were all done for me, slowly I regained independence.

With the equipment and technology available, very soon I was able to embrace any fears or doubts about my abilities. I am a wheelchair user and I can transfer myself onto my bed, onto my toilet and into my shower.

I have the right to allow or refuse anyone in my flat. I have personal space and rights as a disabled person to be accepted for who I am. And I’ve got my children and grandchildren back. While living in nursing care, I wouldn’t see my children for several weeks. Now every day someone drops in, texts or calls.

I’ve also let the very caring staff into my life. I’ve always been shown respect. I’m able to share jokes and talk about family, life and love. When I have low moments, staff will know, and if I push the buzzer, someone is at the door in a couple of minutes.

What would I say to others who are in similar position? Take courage! This charity will work with social workers, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, care managers and community nurses to try and discover a path forward to give you a future where you won’t fall through the net.

I never dreamed that I could have a chance to regain any personal care skills, or even dare think of looking after grandchildren.