Nick cares for his wife of 46 years, Lyn. He has been Lyn’s full time carer now for ten years after Lyn had a stroke.

After taking early retirement from his job to care for Lyn, Nick has helped his wife with all manner of tasks around the home including cooking, helping Lyn to move around, to collect prescriptions and to do the shopping. Nick also sorts out all of Lyn’s medication and also helps to look after their daughter who is classed as a vulnerable adult.

Shortly after Lyn was released from hospital, the couple were visited by Anchor Homes who helped them adapt their Ferndown home. The company fitted a stair lift, a walkway from the back door to the garden, added new front and back doors and made a wet room to aid Lyn’s movement and comfort in the couple’s home. At the same time, Nick paid for laminate flooring throughout the house to make it easier for Lyn’s mobility equipment and wheelchair.

A few years later, Lyn’s mobility was further affected from a fall which resulted in her breaking her hip on the left hand side (the side that was affected by her stroke originally). After having had her hip fused, Lyn can now only use her right hand side to pivot and is unable to lay completely flat.

When Lyn first had her stroke, Nick was booked onto a 7 week carers’ survival course which helped him massively with how to manage his change from husband to carer. The course included things such as diet, which allowed Nick to better understand how to care for Lyn’s new needs.

How caring has affected Nick

Caring has not been easy for Nick and he often struggles to relax. His physical health has suffered as a result of caring and after having problems with shortness of breath, his GP urged him to visit the hospital where he was subsequently diagnosed with various conditions, including pneumonia.

He is also up regularly during the night to help Lyn visit the bathroom and can’t remember the last time he had a full night’s sleep.

Visiting family is also a challenge as many of their relatives live in houses that have limited or no access for Lyn’s needs, although their mobility car does help them with getting out and about.

Nick tries to keep a couple of hobbies to help him de-stress and he enjoys his garden, collecting first day covers and watching TV.

The effects of lockdown

For Nick, lockdown doesn’t feel that different, he said he’s been living in a state of lockdown for 10 years now. However, the challenges associated with Covid-19 have brought their own struggles and successes for Nick. The couple are not having to shield so Nick is able to visit the local supermarket once a week. He has also arranged for the doctors’ surgery that his family attends to send the prescriptions straight to the supermarket’s pharmacy so he no longer needs to make multiple journeys as he did before.

Nick has been able to join in with some virtual groups since lockdown began including one for people who care for someone who’s had a stroke and some of Carer Support Dorset’s virtual cuppa sessions where he has enjoyed talking to other carers.