Being her husband's carer inspired Nan to do things she wouldn't have done before
‘I was my husband’s primary carer for 13 years and it changed my life. There are misgivings, even fears, as you take on tasks that your partner had previously achieved so easily. There is a noise in the car engine – what is it? Is it serious? The gutters are loaded with leaves – could I manage to get the ladder from under the house and clear them? Suddenly the house, garden and car maintenance was my responsibility. When my husband had two strokes in his early sixties I found myself doing things I would never have imagined doing. They had to be done and it was up to me, so out of necessity I took on those tasks and realised that I could do them.
There was also the very serious consideration that I had to give to planning for our later life. We had made our Wills and how fortunate it was that I already had Bill’s Enduring Power of Attorney in place. Things as simple as managing the utilities can be a real problem if they are not in your name. Having the Enduring Power of Attorney in place meant I could easily take on this task and manage things as I saw fit.
I hadn’t thought about Enduring Guardianship, but when my husband started to display the first signs of dementia I recognised that it was a vital step that needed to be taken. I contacted our family solicitor and because Bill was still capable of making the necessary decisions our solicitor was able to draw up the document. This planning gave me security that all that I could do for our future had been taken care of. The Enduring Guardianship is a very important document because it allowed me to have a say in Bill’s accommodation arrangements, respite care and medication. When the time came for him to go into a nursing home I was able to choose that he go into the one closest to where we lived. Having that piece of paper just made such a difference.’
We had had the conversations we needed to have about end of life planning so I understood what Bill really wanted when it came to health and financial decisions. By writing our Wills, setting up Enduring Powers of Attorney and Enduring Guardianship documents we didn’t have to worry about ‘what if’. We had time to say the special things we wanted to say to each other and build memories as we spent precious time together.’