Sue's Mum; Eileen
Hi! My name’s Sue. If you’re considering the White House for a loved one, from my experience with mum you’re doing the right thing. It’s hard to decide on a move to a care home. We hear so many stories about unhappy places, and feel bad having to take our loved one from their home. We, mum’s family, had sleepless nights wondering whether we were making the right decision for her, but she couldn’t look after herself any longer and had lost all interest in life. Luckily, we found her a room at the White House.
Mum didn’t make friends easily, so it was a great start that, five minutes after their first meeting, she and Ajitha were laughing together. She was reluctant to leave the security of Tolworth Hospital, but as soon as she sat in her chair in her room she wriggled a bit and said ‘This is cosy!’. We all breathed a sigh of relief. Although her room was small, we’d already added touches from home, including dad’s photo, and she loved it. When we first walked in to the White House, it felt like home, not like ‘a home’, a comfortable place full of friendly people, and with no trace of the ‘smell’ so many associate with nursing homes and hospitals.
In no time, mum was chatting with and teasing the staff and with encouragement from Janice and the carers she was taking part in activities and entertainment and going on trips out, including the panto, garden centre and Hampton Court. She was enjoying herself again and it showed! For the first time in her life, she had nothing to worry about. She felt safe, secure and cared for. On her 90th birthday, she rang for the toilet at 2.30am and all the staff on duty went to her room to sing Happy Birthday, the start of a wonderful day for her.
When she was found unresponsive one morning, she was taken to hospital where they told us nothing more could be done for her. The White House really wanted her home with them, so she spent her last days in her own room, surrounded by people and sounds familiar to her. They were so gentle and caring, and maintained her dignity throughout. I visited every day and there was always a carer either sitting with her, often holding her hand for tender comfort, or not far away, with music playing quietly.
Five days later, she passed away. The White House organised our nominated undertakers so we didn’t have to worry about a thing. They didn’t rush us, but left her room with her belongings until we were ready to take them away. When we went there, we were greeted like members of their family – they obviously missed her too. They were willing to talk to us and help us with our loss.
During mum’s stay, I began helping with activities and I’m still involved – I guess I’ve become part of their family! You couldn’t find a better home for your loved one!
Claire's Father; Geoff
My father Geoff was "rescued" by The White House at a time of distress and fragility. A nursing home such as The White House is such a rare find and I knew from the very first visit to view the home that my Dad would be safe and content. There are always lots of amazing activities going on and although I was sad that dad could not join in, I was just grateful for him being kept as comfortable as possible. Dad's last birthday, his 87th, was acknowledged and celebrated so kindly by the wonderful staff and volunteers. They also made such an effort for Mum and Dad's 63rd wedding anniversary with the kind gesture of a cake and for them to have lunch together.
It's just so hard for a partner when they lose their spouse to dementia. Dad was always marvellous at remembering anniversaries and Valentine's day and I think Mum misses this terribly, but your staff really made a difference to her. I'm always amazed at his capacity for smiling and laughing still, but Dad's always been a very positive man.
For 15 months the amazing staff have helped not only a very poorly man die with dignity but have demonstrated great support towards my (heartbroken) Mum. I cannot begin to express my heartfelt gratitude for the outstanding care provided to my dad at a time of great vulnerability. In my father's word when I asked him earlier if he was content and comfortable, he replied "it's just perfect here". I could not have asked for more. I am so relieved he is at peace at last and I shall miss him greatly.
Ajitha and staff of The White House have my deepest respect.