One of those challenges is dementia – something Chris has had lots of experience with during nearly five decades in healthcare as an NHS nurse, the matron of a private residential and nursing home, and now as a self-employed live-in carer.
She is matched with the clients she looks after – some of whom have dementia – through introduction agency Country Cousins. "I suppose it's my vocation to care for people – I first became a nurse at 18 and never thought about doing anything else," she reveals. "I think care at home, right through to end of life if that is your wish, is very important and I'm doing my little bit to help make that happen."
She continues: "Whatever a client's condition, my aim is to enable help them to continue for as long as possible with the lifestyle that they are familiar with. For someone with dementia that is particularly important. Everyone experiences dementia in a different way and every day can be different – some are better than others. It is unpredictable. That is why the continuity of care from the same person, a routine and the surroundings of your own home can really help."
Chris will do whatever she can to help her clients, whether that be assisting with personal hygiene and making meals or encouraging clients to continue with favourite activities like painting or listening to music. "The key is to remember that everyone is an individual and might not see things the way you see things. So, I talk to friends, family and neighbours to build up a picture of what an individual client needs – what will provide them with the right care for them."