Lesley has been Graham main carer since he experienced a stroke in 2011
Graham and Leslie relationship
Graham and Lesley had just restarted a relationship they had in their teenage years, after many years of being apart from one another and were looking forward to a new start. They were not living together when Graham unexpectedly experienced a massive stroke in 2011, which had a huge and lasting impact on Graham, Lesley and her 15 year old son, Oliver.
Four years on and now living together, Lesley is Graham’s main carer. From getting him up in the morning and helping him wash and dress, to feeding and watering and keeping him entertained, Lesley provides round the clock care for Graham every day, whilst making sure Oliver’s needs are met too. “I worry how down he (Graham) gets sometimes”, Lesley said. “He used to be such a chatty, cheeky person but a lot has changed. Sometimes all he wants to do is sit in front of the TV and do nothing”.
Time for a break
For the whole time Lesley has cared for Graham, neither of them has had the opportunity to have a break. So when Lesley booked a weeks’ break with Revitalise at Jubilee Lodge in the Essex countryside for Graham, they were both a bit apprehensive and feared the unknown.
“It was Graham’s first time there and a big step for him, but I felt it was important for his independence. For four years, I have always looked after him.”
During Graham’s stay at Jubilee Lodge, it gave Lesley some much needed ‘me’ time. She was able to catch up on some of the simple things she’s not able to do whilst caring for Graham, such as going shopping, seeing friends, tending to her much loved garden and just enjoying completely losing track of time.
“It was a very relaxing week and to be honest, I felt I needed the break more than Graham. Things get on top of me and I feel isolated. I got up when I wanted and had time to myself for the first time in a long time”.
When Lesley went to pick Graham up, after only a week away, the change she saw in him was remarkable. He was happy and chatting away to the staff and volunteers when she arrived.
“Graham wants to go to Netley Waterside next as he loves boats and being by the sea. To know that we have the opportunity to have a break once a year will make such a difference to all our lives and have something to look forward to”.