Jeff & June

June cares for her husband

Jeff and June were having fun, doing things together after they retired. But when he had two strokes, their lives were turned upside down.

I felt isolated, alone and like no one understood. Without IET Connect, I could have tipped over the edge.

"We met in 1976  in Bahrain where I was a nursing sister and Jeff was an electrical engineer. Before Jeff’s strokes, we’d go walking, out for meals and on holidays. Life changed in November 2012 when Jeff had his strokes because his short-term memory, cognitive skills, ability to plan and problem solve were all affected. He couldn’t wash and dress himself or deal with his affairs, so I became his full-time carer.

It was a really tough time and when my sister Linda was diagnosed with ovarian cancer soon after, I felt like I’d been kicked in the teeth. One day, I was sorting through Jeff’s things when I found his IET membership card and a leaflet about IET Connect.

Plucking up the courage to call them was a turning point. The lady on the helpline listened and said she thought they could help us. I was stunned because I didn’t know anything about IET Connect.

Being a carer

As a carer, you're constantly thinking and planning. You have to remember everything for two people. You're trying to deal with your own emotions, the sadness, which keeps hitting you, not every day, but regularly. You have to learn to deal with other people’s attitudes and changes to your life. It's sometimes difficult to deal with everything all of the time. I find it helps to talk to someone about how you feel.

It’s not easy being a carer; it’s like having a full-time job. I’m stronger now and have learnt that it’s essential to plan our days in advance and to encourage Jeff to do things for himself. I’m also working on developing a life for myself. I have raised over £3,600 for the Stroke Association by doing a 26.2 mile coastal walk in Northumberland. Talking about what happened through the fundraising has helped me deal with everything.

My next fund raising event will be to complete The White Peak Walk, a 26 mile challenging walk around the beautiful Hills and Dales of Derbyshire. Our fund raising site is www.justgiving.com/June-Holden2.

Support from IET Connect

IET Connect gave us a monthly grant towards care for Jeff and paid for respite breaks for me. Our two carers, Karen and Mark, each come once a week and they’ve helped Jeff progress. Mark supports him to achieve things in the garden, like planting out vegetable seedlings, which is important to Jeff because he loves gardening. Karen helps him to do our food shopping. Both Karen and Mark encourage him to walk with his stick. Jeff looks forward to their visits and it gives him a boost, he laughs with them, has gained in confidence and has someone to talk to other than me.

It’s important to arrange different people to come in to see the person you care for. We also have a volunteer visit, who is an engineer. You wouldn't think there was anything wrong with Jeff if you heard him talking to them because he can talk about the past fine as his long term memory has not been affected.

Their support means I get four hours of mental space a week to do things like pay the bills, read our meters, household chores, going walking or have a coffee. I can totally relax and have mental freedom which is a huge thing.

Thanks to IET Connect, I’ve had two respite holidays. I went Nordic walking and I remember climbing to the top of a mountain in Spain and shouting ‘I’m free.’

I would say ‘Do it, don't hesitate’ to anyone whose thinking of calling IET Connect. You're talking to people who are very understanding, and the support that they offer makes all the difference in the world.”

You can find out more about June's fundraising for the Stroke Association on her JustGiving page - www.justgiving.com/June-Holden2.

Contact us today to find out how we could help you.

IET Connect doesn’t just think about money, they’re really in tune with people’s emotional needs.
They’re more like family.

 

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It was really straightforward to apply to IET Connect. It was so refreshing to talk to someone who got what we were striving for and wanted to achieve. I don't know where we’d be without IET Connect – we’d definitely be struggling.

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"Martha is quadriplegic. She is deafblind, breathes through a ventilator and is fed through a tube. She spent the first two and a half years of her life in Bristol Children’s Hospital.

We heard about IET Connect when a postcard came through the door. We've always paid into the benevolent fund, naively thinking it was more for retired engineers. Something triggered me to call the number on the card and it was so lovely to speak to someone who wanted to help."

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