Chris Moon-Willems

I am extremely pleased to have Chris Moon-Willems as a contributor to Caron Cares.

Chris is a published author, qualified and registered social work professional, Fellow of the Centre for Welfare Reform, Master NLP Practitioner and life coach with extensive social care, NHS and personal experience.

Chris has appeared on TV, been interviewed on national and local radio and is a sought after public speaker. You can find out more about Chris by visiting her website www.relativematters.org or phone her on 0845 319 4870

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This week she has written this for me to share with you.

A Personal Story

 My phone was ringing as I put the key in my door with the familiar tone, which announced that one of my parents needed a listening ear or my help to solve their latest challenge. It had been a long day and my head was throbbing.

 

Mum had poor physical and mental health throughout her long marriage. Dad enjoyed good health and looked after Mum until he turned 80 and began losing his sight and his health began to deteriorate.

 

I am a social worker and specialised in caring for older people. During my long career in Social Services and the NHS I held various operational and strategic management roles and led pilots to introduce personal budgets for both health and social care.

 

In 2006 my parents were two of the first older people in the country to be given a personal budget by Social Services. This enabled us to buy individually tailored services , rather than a social worker providing off the shelf services for them.

 

As they became frustrated by their increasing dependence, I struggled too with their loss of independence. We had reversed positions. They now needed me and just like they were always there for me, I chose to be there for them. This reversal of child and parent roles wasn’t always easy. I love my parents to bits but there was sometimes a tension between wanting to do my best for them and wanting to live my own life.

 

Eventually Dad’s health deteriorated to the point that he was unable care for Mum any longer and just over a year ago, she had to be admitted to a care home. Having endorsed her wish to remain at home with my father, the guilt and emotional turmoil I felt were extraordinary and something I never anticipated.

 

Dad’s health declined further and during his final journey I moved in to care for him to avoid a hospital admission. Sadly he passed away the day after his 90th birthday and I was privileged to be with him when he died.

 

I was stunned by the intense emotion behind caring for my parents, watching my father decline and dealing with my own (and my mothers’) unmet expectations about moving into a home. Despite years of professional experience, the past couple of years has felt like an emotional roller coaster and I learned more from the journey with my parents than years of professional training and experience.

 

I have the benefit of knowledge and professional experience as well as siblings who care about my parents as much as I do. I am aware this is not always the case and my heart goes out to people struggling to care for their parents  on their own or live a long way from them.  I am now in the rare position of being able to offer insight – both professionally and personally- to people in a similar position and have set up an independent care consultancy and published a book to enable me to do just this. Feel free to contact me if there is anything I can help you with.

 

Chris Moon-Willems

 

Chris is a published author, qualified and registered social work professional, Fellow of the Centre for Welfare Reform, Master NLP Practitioner and life coach with extensive social care, NHS and personal experience.

 

Chris has appeared on TV, been interviewed on national and local radio and is a sought after public speaker. You can find out more about Chris by visiting her website www.relativematters.org or phone her on 0845 319 4870

relative-matters-book-right-smallTo learn about Chris’ book please click here

Caron

Award-winning blogger and care columnist for Devon Life magazine, Caron also campaigns for recognition of the needs elderly people and their carers. Designer and creator of the award-winning Dementia Assistance Cards which are free to all, and helping thousands of people globally Caron is passionate and committed to making a difference

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