Val and Lill: a bond that can't be broken
Sisters Lillian and Val, aged 91 and 81, have always been close and loved nothing more than to meet each week at Miranda Fair for a cuppa and catch-up. That is until progressing dementia and reduced mobility became an almost impenetrable barrier between them, reducing their contact to just once a year.
Despite the best efforts of family and carers, it seemed as if Lillian and Val would lose their special relationship. They were increasingly restricted by disorientation, they were both becoming confused, and Val’s dementia was depriving her of the ability to speak. One day, Val and Lillian’s daughters got together and discovered an amazing coincidence - both the sisters received care from the same organisation – HammondCare.
When our south-east Sydney manager Jennifer Gavin learned of the loss of the very close relationship between the sisters because of their challenging conditions, she realised the importance of finding a way to renew regular contact. So despite their various complex needs, she organised that the two sisters would both be brought to HammondCare’s South-east Sydney Social Club on Fridays. “Immediately they recognised each other and were able to connect,” Jennifer said. “Now they get to see each other every week. Lillian puts her arm around Val and tells everyone proudly, ‘This is my little sister!’ Even though Val can no longer speak, the tears of joy can be seen running down her cheeks.”
While bringing the two sisters together this way may seem the obvious thing to do, the challenges can’t be underestimated - a previous care service provider had already found Lillian’s mobility issues too difficult to overcome and would no longer accept her as a client. The HammondCare team were determined to find a way and for Jennifer, seeing the joy of the two women as they are reunited each week is motivation enough.
Val’s former husband Ken still visits, and he is grateful for the suport provided. “It makes a hell of a difference having HammondCare come in to help with Val’s care. What those girls do is wonderful.” At the same time, Lillian’s daughter Jan receives the support she needs in caring for her parents, and gets some time out to attend to her own needs.