John and his wife, Avril

Avril has been caring her husband for about four years now. He has dementia which is the hardest thing to cope with, but he is also diabetic and is a double leg amputee.

“It’s hard work, but physically I’m actually a very healthy, strong woman so I can manage,” says Avril. “It’s the emotional side of things that really takes its toll. It’s been the most shocking, and emotionally draining thing. Some days I find myself sitting in the bedroom crying, and I don’t even know why.

We take every day as it comes. One moment he’ll be laughing – his old, self – the next it’s like he’s a completely different person. I pray that one day he’ll come back, but of course I know that it will never happen.

My children have been a huge support to me, and my daughter recently joined us in the UK which has helped a lot. She helps me with the shopping now and takes out the rubbish for me. They sit and chat to John, and take him out when he can manage it. But they work, so it seems unfair to ask any more of them than that.

John needs 24 hour care; I can’t leave him for even 10 minutes which means that I’m on edge all of the time.

Both my husband and son are Freemasons, so the lodge were aware of our situation. We didn’t even have to ask for help, they just offered to put in an application on our behalf. It didn’t really occur to me that they would help us, so it was a wonderful surprise that they were so eager to help. The whole process was very quick, and I’m very grateful.”

The MCF pays for carers to come in to our home so that I can take a break. It’s brilliant in that it gives me a rest so that I can stay strong. But to be honest, I still worry about him when I’m not there.


“I don’t like leaving him, but it does give me a chance to pop out to the hairdressers.

We’ve been together for 52 years, and for all those years before he became ill, we did everything together. As a family we would go caravanning and fishing. Then the children grew up and still, whatever we did, we did it as a couple; we were always hand in hand. Now he doesn’t go out, so I don’t really go out.

John used to be the head of the household, and he would make all of the decisions. Now, I have to make the decisions, and I hate it. But this is my job now, and I know that we would do it for me.”

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