The family of a dementia patient who was cared for at Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) has set up a £15,000 fundraising appeal in his memory to say thank you for the care he received.
Stanley Matthews passed away in March, but his family is determined to keep up their activities over the coming weeks and months, to raise funds to benefit other dementia patients at the Trust, as part of the Stanley Matthews’ Appeal.
Stanley was diagnosed with Alzheimers, aged 69 in February 2016, just weeks after moving home to Costessey, near Norwich, to spend more time with their young grandchildren, from Turkey where he and his wife Rose had lived for nine years.
Rose Matthews explains when she first noticed changes in his behavior: “I started to notice he wasn’t as sociable as he had been. When we went out with friends he would seem quite removed and then suddenly say something very random.
“He started to open the front door and shout to people who weren’t there and I just didn’t know how to handle him. We moved back to Norfolk in December 2015, and the rest of the family noticed a distinct difference in him. For me, it’s took a while to come to terms with it, as it all happened so quickly.
“After some persuasion we managed to get Stanley to go to our GP and the Trust’s community dementia team were immediately involved with his care. He was assessed and diagnosed with Alzheimers.
“As he got worse, he went to stay in a respite home, but after a few more weeks he deteriorated further and was becoming violent with staff and went into a bit of a crisis. And so he had to be transferred to the specialist dementia unit at Hammerton Court, in Norwich.
“I visited him every other day in Hammerton Court where the staff were so supportive. It’s the small things like that which made such a difference. And you feel sure he received the best care possible.
“As a family we were absolutely devastated to see Stanley change in the way he did, but my daughter, son and I have pulled together. The support of the NHS staff helped so much.”Their daughter Emma explained that her dad had been a chemical process worker at the Sweet Briar plant, in Norwich, for 30 years before taking early retirement and heading to Turkey with Rose.
Emma said: “Within weeks of their returning home the disease had taken hold of my dad and it wasn’t long before we couldn’t give him what he needed. At Hammerton Court they immediately took good care of him and we’re really grateful for that. But the disease took away the man I knew as my dad.”
Rose and Emma decided to set up the Stanley Matthews’ Appeal after seeing how trips and outings gave him so much enjoyment, and are hoping the same will be true for other Hammerton Court patients, which is part of NSFT’s Julian Hospital site, in Bowthorpe Road.
“Last September we all went to an NSFT charity football match with Stanley and the difference we saw in him while he was out and about was astonishing. Seeing him cheering on the Julian Hospital team was when we started to think about setting up the appeal to organise transport for trips for Hammerton Court patients.
“We believe as a family that it’s important for people with dementia to still try and go out to see the world,” Rose explained.
Julia Claxton, a Clinical Psychologist for NSFT’s Dementia and Complexity in Later Life Community Service, said: “It’s very important for people with dementia to enjoy sensory experiences as part of their therapy. For instance, outings to the seaside where you can see the waves of the sea, feel the salty wind in your hair and even taste an ice cream are very beneficial for patients.
“We are really grateful for the support the Matthews family is giving the unit and our other patients. It is very much appreciated and will really make a difference.” Mother and daughter have a host of events planned involving service users, carers and staff. They are holding a Soul on Saturday Motown Night, on Saturday, 8 April at The Talk at 134 Oak Street, Norwich, NR3 3BP from 8pm until 2am. Everyone welcome and tickets can be bought on the door for £5.
On Easter Sunday they are holding an afternoon party for patients and their carers where they will be treated to live music, an Easter egg hunt, tombola and can buy watercolour paintings donated by a local artist.
And there are plans for friends of the family to take part in a sky dive.
“So far, we have raised more than £2,000 towards our target of £15,000 and we intend to keep going. It’s our way of honoring the life of my husband and saying thank you to staff at the Trust,” added Rose.
For more information about the appeal, please visit the Stanley Matthews’ Just Giving page at: https://goo.gl/j4S1XI
If you are concerned about dementia in relation to yourself or someone you know, please contact your GP for advice.