Sally has been a part of the Leuchie team for over 11 years. As part of Leuchie’s vision to expand our unique and vital service beyond our walls to impact more people with neurological conditions and their unpaid carers, Sally took on the challenge of setting up our Leuchie at Home service in 2021. This service provides carers in East Lothian with at least 2 hours per week of respite in their own homes, giving them a chance to fully relax and focus on what they need, while their loved one is supported by one of our fully trained volunteers.
"I love my job. Every day I see first-hand the huge impact Leuchie at Home has on those we help and, with plans to grow and extend our reach to more people who desperately need support, I am excited to see where it will go.
Andrew and Elizabeth Guest from North Berwick are two of the people who have become part of our special Leuchie at Home family. Andrew has Parkinson’s and, for years managed to be self-sufficient but in 2022 when he underwent a potentially life-changing surgery called Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS), which should improve symptoms, he tragically suffered a stroke. As a result, his mobility and speech rapidly declined and Andrew is now a ‘high falls risk’ meaning, for his safety, he can no longer be left on his own. I know this changed everything for them.
They contacted me when they realised Elizabeth desperately needed a break and an opportunity to have a couple of hours a week to see friends or do something for herself, knowing Andrew was in safe hands. She knows how important it is for Andrew’s wellbeing to keep up the activities which bring him joy, but understandably it can feel relentless to always have this responsibility falling on her shoulders.
Andrew and Elizabeth have led interesting lives with fascinating backgrounds in the arts and education. Andrew has many interests, which makes my work with him a real joy - and different every time - whether it is in the garden, going to the shops, cooking with him, speech therapy or joining him for a walk.
Their situation became more difficult when Elizabeth had knee surgery earlier this year and the great responsibility she carries daily became so apparent. I helped them arrange a holiday for Andrew at Leuchie so that Elizabeth could take the break she needed. She has since told me how wonderful it was to travel down to London for a long overdue visit with their son, David and daughter, Catherine and their grandchildren, knowing that Andrew was in good hands and that his every need was being met with Leuchie’s consistent and excellent care.
What makes Leuchie at Home so unique is how personal it is, and, in Andrew’s case, he has really benefited from accessing advice from Leuchie’s experts through me. He has already benefited hugely from his new WALX walking poles recommended by Leuchie’s physio Louise and has shown great improvement on our walks together in terms of balance, pace and distance. He’s learnt a lot about off-the-shelf enabling products from Leuchie’s Enabling Tech Team, that can make such a difference for Elizabeth and him. I see this as one of the most important parts of my job, because it means I can support families not only day by day, but in the long term too.
I have the patience to help with tasks that may feel exhausting to an unpaid carer, simply because of everything else they do day in, day out. Often, when I arrive at someone’s home, there is understandable tension in their shoulders and strain on their faces and, when I leave, they are visibly calmer, with a smile to match and it makes my day every time.
The positive impact of a Leuchie at Home visit on the mental and physical wellbeing of those we support is obvious and it is extremely rewarding to be able to do that for families who did not choose this life for themselves.
Leuchie is so much more than just a building – at its heart is REAL care for REAL people because they deserve better. By donating today, you too can make a real difference for people like Andrew and Elizabeth, who need your support now.
Thank you and very best wishes to you and your family this Christmas."
Leuchie at Home Coordinator
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