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Husband hoping to volunteer at care home – so he can hold his wife’s hand

PUBLISHED: 06:35 07 October 2020 | UPDATED: 07:47 07 October 2020

Keith and Pat Crofton. Photo from NIHR

Keith and Pat Crofton. Photo from NIHR

NIHR

A man is looking into volunteering at a care home – so that he can hug his wife for the first time in many months.

Keith Crofton who is an official Join Dementia Research Champion. Picture: Keith CroftonKeith Crofton who is an official Join Dementia Research Champion. Picture: Keith Crofton

Keith Crofton revealed he was pursuing the role to overcome coronavirus rules that barred him from physical contact with wife Pat, but allowed care home staff to hold her hand.

Mrs Crofton, 65, who has been married to 68-year-old Keith for 39 years, has vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s and is a resident at Cavell Court in Cringleford. She can only communicate by gripping her hand.

She was diagnosed with dementia when she was 59, and was last hugged by her family before lockdown.

Mr Crofton said: “It is an opportunity to go and see my wife and help the care home as I have been doing since my wife has been in care.

Pat Crofton with one of her three grandchildren before lockdown. Picture: Keith CroftonPat Crofton with one of her three grandchildren before lockdown. Picture: Keith Crofton

“In an ideal world the health minister or prime minister would see what we wanted, which is to be treated the same way as carers would be. I can sit two metres away wearing a mask, but a carer can give her a hug or hold a hand. I cannot see any difference.

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“Time is of the essence because we do not know how long Pat is going to be around for.”

He said the winter would prove challenging with flu season potentially causing care homes to stop visitors to assess if symptoms were flu or coronavirus.

Pat Crofton with one of her three grandchildren before lockdown. Picture: Keith CroftonPat Crofton with one of her three grandchildren before lockdown. Picture: Keith Crofton

Care UK ,which runs Cavell Court, has been running a volunteer scheme since April. After learning about the scheme last week, Mr Crofton has begun his application.

He said: “The care she has been getting there is fabulous. The laws they are having to follow are crazy. The rules are challenging: we [he and daughter Annie] both used to be able to see Pat but as it stands it’s myself or a nominated member who can see her, but that has to be consistent from now on.”

The couple have two daughters, Fran and Annie, and three grandchildren.

The last time Fran was able to see her mum was in February.

Mr Crofton said: “She has forgotten who Fran is now which is very sad. It’s heartbreaking. I do not think they will see their mum again if the current rules sill apply.”

Before lockdown, he visited his wife five times a week. He said: “The rules need to be relaxed. They need to think about the impact on people. There is no 
life for Pat, she has no quality of life.”


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