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Carers Week: Bishop's Stortford couple highlight Herts County Council's support for carers

Graham and Jean Francis (12357398)
Graham and Jean Francis (12357398)

A Bishop's Stortford couple helped Herts County Council highlight Carers Week and the support the authority can offer.

Graham Francis, a retired sales manager, cares full time for his wife Jean, 81. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in late 2015 and her memory, speech and mobility have been affected.

Last November, a carer practitioner visited Graham and Jean to carry out a carer's assessment.

Graham explained: "Jean's condition was deteriorating and everything was coming on top, so I arranged an assessment. Olga [the carer practitioner] was very kind and we went through everything step by step.

"She helped with planning for emergencies if something were to happen to Jean or I and she helped us to start thinking about Jean's longer-term care.

"I now have three hours a week respite cover so I can get out and about and do some shopping without having to worry. In addition, I've found a local home that Jean is comfortable and happy attending and she's begun going along for one day each week.

"These new developments have really made a difference. I'm a keen golfer and now once a week I get to play nine holes in the morning with some friends. They've labelled it 'Graham Wednesdays' and on my first day back 12 people showed up to welcome me back to the club!

"I've got two great sons, extended family, friends and neighbours who are a fantastic help, but this additional support has given me some time back for myself and is keeping me active – I'd urge any carer to find out more about the support on offer locally."

Carers Week ran from June 10 to 16. Cllr Richard Roberts, the county council's executive member for adult care and health, said: "We want our carers to feel supported and safe in their caring role and so we're working together with our partners in Hertfordshire to find ways of connecting carers to local services."

For more details, see www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/carers

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