Well, she was a lovely mum. And not an easy life. And times were hard particularly in the rationing and having two young children after the war.
But gradually [gradually] she and dad through hard work got their own house. And really wanted us as children to have every opportunity that they didn’t have.
But as she became in her 80’s I could tell her memory was not what it was.
And then she had some falls, broke her hips, twice in six weeks she broke her hips.
And I had a chat with the consultant at the hospital who said to me if she falls again she will need to have major surgery and I don’t think she’ll survive it.
So, it was at that point I had to have the conversation about - mum I think you need 24 hour care.
And so she did what she always said, she adapted to the idea that now was the time. She was nearly 89.
So then I started looking for homes. I wanted local because we’d always lived within a few miles of each other. I wanted to be able to be hands on. I didn’t want all the responsibility that I’d shouldered for years just taken away for me. And I wanted somewhere that I felt I could put my head on the pillow at night and go to sleep and know that my mum was safe and secure, and someone would help her in trouble.
I phoned a lot of homes, I went to a lot of homes in the area and then I went back to Harts and I was impressed with what I saw.
The rooms are lovely, everywhere was spotlessly clean. I felt that it had a homely atmosphere, and it was important for me as a relative that it was welcoming for me because I was going in there a lot.
There was always big excitement, there was such interesting people there and my mum yeah had a brain she wanted to talk to interesting people.
They accommodated her in every way. They accommodated our religious service which we had occasionally because there were a few Jewish people in there, it was very diverse, very accepting .
The garden was a blessing. And in the summer we could sit outside. She went every morning and had her coffee on the terrace.
All of the other residents, not all of them but the ones who were able, would come with their visitors and we would have a cup of tea. The girls would bring out a tea and a biscuit and we would sit and have a chat, someone would bring in some fruit, you know we’d share it all, and we would sit there laughing and joking. It was a life enhancing experience for the visitors as well as the residents, and I think that’s a huge compliment to have that and that garden played an important part.
And the summer fete when all the family would come and they brought the little ponies in and children ran around patting the ponies and we had singers and we had a bouncy castle and a BBQ going. I mean it is what you would do as a family, maybe not the ponies, but you know you would do as a family on a summers day, oh come and have a BBQ and let the children play in the garden and have a drink mum, have a pimms, and that happened. It continued to happen in her life. And that was so important.
I think it’s important that people that work in a care home situation realise the impact that they have on the whole family not just the person that’s staying there.
They have a certain mentality, a certain talent, a certain gift, they are able to do it. And there’s kindness and there’s respect and a positive nice happy face walking in the room I think that’s so important.
I was just lucky to have had her so long and to have had such a positive experience the last years. As I said in the email to Duncan – look it’s expensive, it was expensive, and I had to sell her flat and everything went but to me it was worth it.
And she used to say to me and she did say to me – Thank you for finding me such a nice place, you couldn’t have done better.
Lily Mendel 1925 - 2022