When I was diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS in 2008, obviously it was a huge shock but I was determined to live as active a life as I could for as long as I could.
Over the next six years or so, as my condition progressed, I went first from one crutch to two. Then by 2014 I could no longer get in and out of the car so had to start using a wheelchair and a zimmer. In 2015 things had progressed to the stage I felt I had to stop work.
Throughout this time we had no help with my care so it all fell to my wife, Janet. In the end she had to give up work too to care for me.
Eventually, we managed to get some support and since 2017, we’ve had a carer coming in each morning five days a week to help get me ready for the day. We were also given an allowance of respite days to enable me to go to Leuchie House so that both Janet and I could have a break.
In June 2017, I went to Leuchie for the first time. From my experience of my aunt’s care home, my perception of what care was like turned out to be galaxies away from the care I received at Leuchie.
The staff really couldn’t be better. They all go above and beyond, and do more than you could imagine to deliver the best care possible.
The ability to be independent again is so important to me too. At Leuchie there’s so much space I can easily get around the house, choosing where I want to go and when.
I’d say that when I’m at home I feel about half the person I used to be. When I’m at Leuchie I feel 150%.
Having the chance to be sociable and chat with so many different people is brilliant too. I’ve made some great friends during my visits.
The physiotherapy service is another added bonus and something I don’t get access to at home. It has made a real difference to my ability to keep walking. I also get the chance to use the standing frame at Leuchie which supports you to stand upright for a while. When you haven’t been able to stand up for years, it’s an amazing feeling.
Then there’s the food…! As well as the great meals on the menu, the kitchen staff go out of their way to provide your favourites. So I know now whenever I go, I’ll get my sausage and black pudding doubler on a Saturday, and they’ll have made my favourite type of cake.
Probably the most important thing of all for me about going to Leuchie though is that Janet gets to have a proper rest. It’s the only time she gets to recharge her batteries so it makes such a difference.
I can honestly say Leuchie has changed our lives.
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