Ann, 75 - Dementia
I am a 75 year old Russian immigrant with dementia and my only son David is married and has a family of six young children. David contacted Bikur Cholim as he was overwhelmed by his caring responsibilities to his me his mother and the impact this was having on his family life. His marriage was strained as he was constantly out caring for his mother. A Bikur Cholim support worker made a referral to Social Services and advocated for a care package. She also arranged a rota of volunteers to visit regularly. David’s marriage has drastically improved now that Bikur Cholim are sharing the burden of my care. I appreciate the support I am receiving from the staff and volunteers at Bikur Cholim and it is obvious that they are trained in understanding the needs of people with dementia as I do not communicate as well with anyone else.
When I was forced out on the steet by my wife after seventeen years of marriage, it was more than just a case of family breakdown. I am learning disabled and suffer from epilepsy. My seizures are unpredictable and managing daily tasks is quite a struggle. When I entered Bikur Cholim I was living with friends and was desperate for my independence. My support worker accompanied me to view some suitable one bedroom flats in the area and encouraged me to take up a tenancy agreement. My support worker also made arrangements for a daily meals service and weekly laundry service. I have now returned to part time work and am delighted to welcome guests into my own home. “Thanks to my support worker, I feel like a man now”.
Julie, 19 - Diabetes
I was a nineteen year old college leaver looking forward to my first job when I was diagnosed with Diabetes. What was hardest for me was not getting used to testing my surgar levels or taking insulin injections but having to cope with my family’s reaction of complete non acceptance. They made me feel that I had no future and was unlikely to get married to the stigma of my condition. As a result, I fell into a deep depression and felt that her life was no longer worth living. I self referred to Bikur Cholim’s emotional health service desperately seeking support. I was referred for therapy and through this I came to terms with her diagnosis, and learned to shift my thoughts and successfully lifted myself out of my depression.
In addition, I was encouraged by my therapist to join Sweet Circles, Bikur Cholim’s peer Support group for young adults with diabetes. There I have made new friends who are in the same situation, enhancing my social life. I have also been able to take up a job as a successful teacher. In my recent thank you letter to Bikur Cholim, I wrote “thank you for giving me back my life”.
Lilly, 31 - Multiple Sclerosis
I am a thirty one year old mother of four young children with Multiple Sclerosis and Celiac. I have chosen to keep my illness a secret and in fact shared my diagnosis with Bikur Cholim before sharing it with my extended family. I was desperate to keep up my job as an IT expert in a local office but was too exhausted to clean my her home in the evenings after being out all day. Bikur Cholim recognised how important my job was to me and helped me to maintain it by providing practical support in the home every evening for one hour. They also made a referral to Social Services who are now providing a care plan and therefore the service has continued through a statutory funding source. My children have benefitted from Chasdei Hindy, Young Volunteer Service, and the volunteers help them with homework, take them to the park and celebrate their birthdays. As exhausted and ill as I feel, I know that my children are not suffering due to the amazing support we are receiving from Bikur Cholim.
Anne, 82 - Arthritis
I am an eighty two year old woman with arthritis. It has been challenging to accept the changes in my body and the changes to my lifestyle as a result. It was particularly distressing when I had to stop my twice weekly swimming sessions swimming as I found it difficult to change into my swimming costume. However I did not want to give up and contacted Bikur Cholim as I thought that perhaps a volunteer could help me out. Now I enjoys a swim every week with my community mentor who assists me with dressing and undressing. The one hour I spend in the water, keeps me going all week. I can’t thank Helen (my community mentor) enough for helping me resume this activity. This in addition to the walk through the park we take together each week. I know my arthritis can’t be reversed but my doctor has told me that physical activity has slowed down the decline in my health. I feel so much better than I did six months ago. Thank you!”
Miriam, 58 - Stroke
I am 58 years old and have been the victim of three abusive marriages. When I was hospitalized following a stroke I was scared to go home alone as I was worried about being on my own. I knew I was quite young but yet I wanted to be moved into residential care. Bikur Cholim’s volunteers first visited me in hospital and encouraged me to try coming home with support before giving up on my independence. The volunteers advised me about how to apply for Telecare, social care service which provides panic buttons and alarms so that I would not be so anxious about being on her own. I returned home and together with my volunteers we developed a plan which included activities such as meal preparation, menu planning, joining an exercise group and introductions to some neighbours. One of the volunteers also helped me apply for DLA thereby increasing my income. I am is now at home and have given up on her idea of residential care. I’m so grateful to Sarah, my Bikur Cholim volunteer /befriender who has given me back my independence. Had I had my way I would have been an old lady by now. I am enjoying life and am hopeful for the future”.
David, 2 - Cystic Fibrosis
I am just two years old but due to my diagnosis of Cystic Fibrosis and constant infections I have spent more time in hospital than at home. I am the youngest of five children and much as my parents like to visit me and stay with me whilst I am an inpatient this is not a very practical arrangement for my siblings. It is the Chasdei Hindy volunteers from Bikur Cholm who often stay with me overnight and know which furry friends and toys I like. They read to me, they play with me and they give my parents the reassurance that I am in good company even when they can’t be with me. And when my parents come, they always bless Bikur Cholim for the support they provide at home including domestic help, hospital transport and a meals service during times of crisis.