Night times were uncomfortable for Jane Litchfield’s mother, who would become unsettled. Jane’s father, in his nineties, was exhausted and struggling as the main caregiver.
Everything changed for the better when Jane’s parents started to receive night-time support.
Jane explains how care provided during the night helped her parents.
“My Mum had Parkinson’s for about six years, and for the last two years of her life, she was bedridden and unable to move anything but her hands. She had become rigid, her limbs becoming painful and sore.
“Dad (who is in his 90’s) was her main carer, alongside the wonderful care of the Katharine House Embrace and At Home team. Mum had very unsettled nights; she had to be moved regularly, or else she became extremely uncomfortable. She eventually was unable to distinguish between night and day because she was in and out of sleep continuously. My Dad was struggling; he was sleeping in a single bed alongside her. Mum would call out up to twenty times a night to be moved; he would get exhausted. This meant he was unable to function throughout the day, making him more susceptible to falls and getting ill himself.
“Katharine House At Home team started to offer night sits as often as they could. At first, Mum was against having anyone in at night. However, after a while, she became more secure in the knowledge that someone was staying awake throughout the night with her, and she wasn’t waking Dad.
“This meant that Dad could go to a separate room and get a good night’s sleep knowing that Mum was in good hands. This allowed Dad to be more able to deal with Mum’s care during the day. This was peace of mind for myself and my brother, who feared that Dad would not survive the stress of the whole experience.
“These night sits quite honestly changed our lives, they enabled us as a family to keep Mum at home in her own bed, and of course Dad still got tired, but the night sits got him through this very upsetting time in both of their lives. We can’t express how grateful we are that Mum died peacefully in her own home in bed surrounded by her family, and the regular calls from fantastic carers who genuinely cared for both my Mum and Dad were absolutely priceless.”