Heartfelt poem praises care and support shown by South Oxhey Day Services

Published: 12 Feb 2019

A grateful resident was inspired to write a poignant poem thanking South Oxhey Day Services centre in Northwick Road, Watford, for the life-changing care and support provided to her partner.

Diana Pook, 71, whose partner David has Parkinson’s Disease and dementia, was feeling extremely isolated and had reached a low point as sole carer for her husband, needing support, respite and company.

She was referred to the South Oxhey Day Services in Northwick Road, which provides supportive care, companionship and a range of activities to engage adults with a variety of care needs and disabilities.

At first Diana was reluctant to share David’s care with people they didn’t know, but her doubts were soon allayed by the supportive and friendly care team and fellow users. In fact Diana even noticed a positive difference in her partner’s condition.

Expressing her gratitude in her poem ‘Ode to Northwick’, Diana wrote: “Words cannot describe, the feeling that I have inside. You are all so really wonderful, caring, kind, honest and true. Without you all, I couldn’t go on or have a life, there would be none.”

Commenting about joining the centre, Diana said: “I had a few reservations at first as it was something completely new for us, but they are all so welcoming and friendly here and they accept David for who he is and give him so much encouragement.

“When he first came to the centre he was using a zimmer frame but now he doesn’t need it as he is now more active and social – that’s what you get here. Our house is quite small and the centre is a lot bigger so he can walk around a lot more.

“There’s also a whole group of ladies who make a fuss of him – they all gather around him and chat to him over a cup of tea. He loves it!”

She added: “It is not only the carers but everyone from the management team, the admin team and even the cook who will give you a friendly smile.  I have never seen anyone be anything less than professional and they all seem to have infinite patience.

“It is hard to explain, but you give up everything to look after someone, so to be sure that they are safe and cared for allows you to have just a few hours back to have a life of your own.”

As well as a wide range of therapeutic and engaging activities provided by the centre, members of staff also take the users on day trips, with David enjoying regular trips to Watford Football Club, through the centre’s dedicated Watford FC group.

A lifelong football lover and Spurs supporter, David, 76, once played for Crystal Palace youth team. He then played for local football club, Hillingdon Borough, and eventually worked as the club’s manager and then Director.

Diana said: “He loves going with his friends from the day centre to Watford Football Club – he just sits and enjoys looking out over the stadium and taking in the atmosphere.”

The club has a specially adapted viewing area to enable visitors of all ages and with a range of disabilities to enjoy a visit to the club from a screened platform which provides a less noisy environment for those with conditions such as autism.

Cabinet member for Adult Care and Health, Richard Roberts said: “Diana’s poem is a wonderful tribute to our dedicated and supportive team at South Oxhey Day Centre.

“It is heartening to hear that Diana and David are both really benefiting from all the centre has to offer.”

A former BT engineer and self-employed electrician, David was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and dementia in 2014, initially showing no symptoms.

However, in 2016 he suffered a fall and his condition suddenly worsened, leading to Diana giving up her job as an emergency planner and trainer for airlines, to care for David full-time.

To see a video of Diana reciting her poem, click on the following link **to follow**.