Charnley Fold Activity Day Centre, Bamber Bridge

Our mum, Lydia, has thrived since she started attending the day centre at Charnley Fold. She is living with advanced Alzheimer’s yet is still physically capable and very active – in fact she rarely sits still. Our dad was her carer, but he became poorly and is now unable to look after her in the way that he once was able to, so the day centre has become a lifeline for both mum and dad. We all know that mum is being well looked-after; is eating a hot, delicious lunch and – more importantly – is being mentally and physically stimulated. This allows our dad the time he needs during the weekdays to rest; and allows us to attend our jobs as teachers and spend quality time with our young families too, without worrying about mum’s welfare day-to-day.

We are so lucky that the day centre is only a couple of miles from where we live and that the staff and facilities there are beyond anything we could want and would have hoped for, for mum, and for peace of mind for the whole family. It feels like a heaven-sent place, to all of us, as, without this centre, mum would most likely have had to go into residential care. It has given us all respite during the day and bought us some more precious time with mum, as she has been able to stay in her own home for the rest of the time. This is important as mum can still freely move around at home, spend time in the garden and see her family and grandchildren on a daily basis.

Alzheimer’s is a cruel disease, but it has affected mum quite early in her life. She had not been retired for very long, when it became evident that she was showing signs of dementia. Fairly rapidly, this disease has taken away much of what made our mum the wonderful lady she was. But, there are still glimpses of that personality that surface from time to time – and Charnley Fold Activity Day Centre brings out the best in her every day that she is there. She has always been fiercely independent; so, so kind and caring; always the most wonderful hostess; an inspirational businesswoman; superbly-organised; very houseproud; a teacher in her early career, a holistic therapist after that and latterly a volunteer in the local community. She would always do anything for anyone. She does not deserve this disease, but she has it – so she deserves to be treated as she would have always treated others throughout her life: as an individual, with complete respect, dignity, and a sense of fun. The staff at Charnley Fold Activity Day Centre look for, and see, the woman that is inside our mum and bring out the best in her. She is allowed the freedom to express herself, whilst we know that she is given opportunities for her memory, cognitive and physical abilities to be stimulated, in a program that is specially designed for her. Sometimes, mum becomes agitated when she feels like she can’t go outside and as the doors to the gardens are all open at the centre, it means that she can go out into nature, which she loves, at any time she wants to.

Mum has been assessed by the Rapid Intervention and Treatment Team, whilst at the centre as needing one-to-one care, but the centre have accommodated us by allowing us to pay for a carer to be there with her every afternoon, so she can still attend and take part in the activities. This is costly, as we pay for both the carer and for the time at the centre, but it is worth every penny to know that mum is happy and safe. If the day centre has been heaven-sent, the staff there truly are angels. We didn’t know where to turn for support with mum -and one day we just ‘turned up’ to make an enquiry at the day centre. We were welcomed straight away and shown the fantastic facilities and we knew immediately it was where mum needed to be. The staff really do care and support us with ensuring that mum is able to access the facilities within the centre in a way that is best for her. Not only have they welcomed all our family with open arms, they have been a huge source of support and information for us when we weren’t sure where to turn next, and for that and many other reasons, they have our complete trust.

We feel the staff have really taken the time to get to know mum – and us – too. They are amazing professionals and a wonderful group of people. We are so happy and reassured that we can access this facility for our mum, so that when we can’t be with her ourselves, she is with people who genuinely care, truly understand Alzheimer’s disease and who we know have her best-interests at heart.

Thank you Charnley Fold Activity Day Centre!

-Helen and Joanne (Lydia’s daughters). Please note that the names have been changed

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