“I was married to Les for nearly 48 years when he passed away. The thing was he'd had the Parkinson's for about six years, and he was fine, and we were coping. Then he started slowly developing problems like diabetes, water infections and then he started falling. One day he fell on the landing and I had to bring him down the stairs one step at a time.
“As a carer you sometimes feel trapped, but you just do it because you love the person. It's a 24 hour job. You have to be there. Then my daughter persuaded me to get a bungalow. We moved and he was fine for a bit but then he was in and out of hospital until the June and then they told me he couldn't come home any more. That is the most dreadful thing anyone can ever tell you.
“I was determined to look after him but I was in my seventies and I knew I just couldn't do it. Then he developed dementia and sometimes he wouldn't even recognise me. I went at 12pm every day and one day he asked me if they paid me to work there. I felt drained to be truthful, to think he didn't recognise me.
“When Les passed away people at Wood Green asked ‘Are you new here?’ and of course I'd lived there for three years, but people just didn't know me because I was always at the home. As a carer you can sometimes feel a bit invisible. You just blend in.
“I started to come to HenPower meetings and I realised that people were friendly and I responded to that. Then I got more drawn in. I thought it was a very good idea and I started to see the benefits. “Then I started to get involved in Hen Road Shows. When we go into homes and we work with people with dementia, I can recognise and understand what they are going through and how carers are feeling. I know what it's like to have a husband and then for him not to be there even though in reality he's sitting next to you, though he doesn't know you anymore.
“When I see hens going into homes I think it's just a brilliant idea. I love working in schools with the children. It makes me feel young again. I was talking to a little girl from Slovakia in a school and we were talking all about the chickens.
“I feel like I'm needed again.”
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