Carers who are supported by Fair Havens Hospice enjoyed a summer BBQ on Saturday 17th June as part of Carers Week.
Fair Havens held the BBQ in their gardens for past and present carers who are using or have used Fair Havens Hospice to celebrate Carers Week - a nationwide campaign that aims to raise awareness of caring, highlight the challenges carers face and recognise the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK.
Fair Havens Hospice and its Hospice at Home service care for adults who have an illness for which there is no cure, their carers and the whole family with the help of its Family Support Team.
Jill Simmonds, Carers Co-ordinator at Havens Hospices, said,
“Caring for a loved one with a life limiting illness can be frightening, emotional and lonely; the role is thrust upon them and it can become difficult to fulfil every promise they’ve made at the beginning of the journey. As a hospice we’re here to journey with our patients wherever it may take us and that includes looking after the needs of their carers.
“There are over 6.5 million unpaid carers in the UK and we like to take the opportunity to acknowledge our carers roles and the sacrifices they have made and give them the opportunity to socialise, relax and enjoy a day just for them.”
Carers like Barbara Savill and Roger Esgrove, who used Fair Havens for support when caring for their loved ones and now both attend the hospice’s bereavement support group.
Barbara from Great Wakering cared for her husband Brian for nearly five years after he was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a lung disease. The couple used both Fair Havens for respite and end of life care and the hospice’s community service – Hospice at Home for the final 18 months of Brian’s journey.
“There comes a time where it gets harder to cope with the demands of being a carer, we managed on our own for nearly four years, but as Brian’s condition deteriorated I needed extra support to be able to care for him. Havens Hospices were there when we needed them, the respite breaks at Fair Havens allowed me to recharge my batteries and the Hospice at Home carers were a fantastic help. They came 3 times a week and that was a fantastic help because it gave me a chance to get shopping without worrying about what is happening at home while you’re not there. They were just brilliant; they made life easier and allowed Brian and I to spend time together as husband and wife rather than carer and patient.”
After Brian passed away in January 2016, Barbara joined Fair Havens’ Bereavement Group
“We meet every Friday and it is so helpful, because everyone is in the same boat. Even though we’ve all lost a loved one it isn’t miserable it’s lovely; it is very friendly and if anyone has a specific problem or they’re having a tough time we can help them through it. I think that’s what is fantastic about Havens Hospices, they don’t just care for the patient they care for everyone and I know I have that support for as long as I need it”
Roger from Benfleet cared for his partner Corinne Wheeler for nearly 8 years after she was diagnosed first with rheumatoid arthritis and later lung cancer in January 2016. Corinne came to Fair Havens in March 2016 for end of life care; Roger joined the Bereavement Group shortly after Corinne passed away.
“When Corinne was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2016 it was quick; as soon as a space was found at Fair Havens she came here. Corinne stayed in for 7-10 days before passing away. When we first arrived, I was overwhelmed with how good the hospice was, how magnificent the service was and how friendly everyone at the hospice was, not only to Corinne but to everyone else – all the family members.
“When Corinne died Fair Havens gave us all exactly what we needed, the space and time to say goodbye. There was no rush to get the room back; they just waited until we were ready. Fair Havens is such a wonderful place, the staff are amazing and the support and care they provided Corinne, me and anyone else who was affected by her illness was second to none in my opinion, I couldn’t praise them enough for what they’ve done for us.
“I joined the Bereavement Group at Fair Havens, because my life for the past 8 years had been focused on caring for Corinne, she was my life. I had become slightly isolated because of this and without the group it would be incredibly difficult to integrate with others, whereas here I’ve been able to get to know others who understand the journey I’ve been on and I’ve built up some amazing friendships.”
During the afternoon carers, patients and Fair Havens staff enjoyed the sunshine with a BBQ and entertainment provided by Great Wakering Community Choir.