Carers perspective

Canon Geoffrey John Phillips, born 1923 was a qualified solicitor but later re-trained as a priest in the Church of England. He served in England and abroad. We married in 1953.

After retirement we came to live in the village of Bergh Apton where soon he became the chairman of the village hall, and joined in with all the varied activities of the village - Conservation Trust, Bergh Apton Society, local history group etc.

Early in 2004 I noticed that he was getting – at times – forgetful, but did not do anything about it. As the affliction became more pronounced in 2005 he was persuaded to see a doctor. The doctor was very understanding and made an appointment at the Memory Clinic.

We attended the appointment and John was given a rather laughable test which was so simple that John who was rather intelligent ran rings round the specialist without the specialist noticing. This test was repeated 2 times more and 2 more years passed. In the end I wrote a letter asking to see a different specialist at the Memory Clinic. In spite of a letter stating that such a request was very unusual we were granted to see another specialist. This time John was diagnosed as suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. I looked after him at home for next 3 years but due to a very bad fall - and he had had many before – one night John was taken to hospital.

The medics decreed that he must not come home but be looked after in a care home which could provide 24 hours supervision, and I did agree with this. Thus John was in a care home relatively near where I live and I could visit daily. This was until, because all his other health issues, he had to be moved to a nursing home. He stayed there till September 2015 when he died with me by his side. In all this time he knew who I was.