Care Story: Ellie and Michael

Ellie has always been an active lady, living and working in Cumbria as a nurse until 2000, when she retired. Ellie spent her retirement enjoying life with her friends and husband, Mike. Ellie enjoyed doing exercise and sports including aqua aerobics and crown green bowling. She was an active member of Allithwaite Bowling Club, taking part in regular competitions.

In 2018 Ellie suffered a stroke, leaving her housebound and unable to walk. The stroke not only changed Ellie’s life but also affected her husband Mike, who had to help to care for her.

Initially after the stroke, Ellie was not given a physiotherapy plan as they had advised her that she wouldn’t walk again, but Ellie was determined to be mobile. She sought a private physiotherapist who came twice a week to help Ellie regain muscle strength and memory. Then came the pandemic and when the first lockdown was announced, Ellie’s physio stopped.

Having been let down by her previous care agency, Ellie and Mike approached local company, Heydays for support. Michael and Sandra Fish, two husband and wife Care & Support Workers at Heydays in Grange were appointed as Ellie’s primary carers in February 2020, just before the first pandemic.

As they got to know Ellie, they spoke to her about her physiotherapy and asked whether they could help her to continue her rehabilitation during the lockdown. In their own time, they met with Ellie’s physiotherapist Sheila, who gave them advice and instructions on Ellie’s care routine. Sheila created a rehabilitation plan that they could follow which included using a squeezing ball for Ellie’s hand and arm exercises as well as assisting Ellie to walk with her frame each lunchtime.

Over the following months, Ellie’s mobility gradually improved and other carers visiting her were impressed with the progress she was making. In the last six months, Ellie has been able to walk unaided without her frame and she recalls how shocked her good friend, Barbara was to see her approach the window and wave without her frame.

As a former nurse, Ellie said she’d hoped to one day receive the level of care that she gave her patients. After a bad experience with her previous care company, she was left feeling anxious however she has only good comments about the Heydays team who have worked hard to gain her trust over the past couple of years.

Michael says that he and Ellie have been able to build a good, trusted relationship so he can always tell if Ellie’s feeling a bit under the weather or when she needs a quieter day.

Michael has also taken the time to ensure that Ellie’s husband Mike has received the support he needed, whether that be helping him to find the best way to load Ellie’s wheelchair into their car or helping him with home technology. Michael even joined Allithwaite Bowling Club so he could take Mike after work to get him out of the house doing something he enjoyed.

Ellie is so thankful to Michael and Sandra and the Heydays team, who have helped her to transform her life from being completely housebound in a wheelchair to being able to enjoy a social, active and rewarding life once again.

Ellie and Mike now enjoy weekly trips to Kendal for a coffee at their favourite coffee shop and Ellie has also started visiting the local beauty centre for a massage to help her arms, hands and shoulders.

Ellie talks about just how thoughtful the carers at Heydays are. She recalls how they came to get her ready so that she could join her friend Barbara at her 80th birthday celebration. Ellie is currently planning a lunch trip with three of her friends.