An introduction to a volunteer visitor helped Margaret feel less isolated at a particularly difficult time in her life.
Diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), Margaret was introduced to her volunteer Muriel more than three years ago and the two haven’t looked back since.
Every Tuesday for the last three years Muriel knocks on the door of Margaret’s home. Once inside, the two chat comfortably over coffee, about Muriel’s forthcoming holiday and Margaret’s plans for the afternoon.
They look like old friends, but Muriel is one of Saint Michael’s volunteer visitors, a service offering support to people in the Harrogate district living at home with a terminal illness.
Margaret Webster, 64, has Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease - a progressive lung disease which makes it difficult to breathe - and was referred to the volunteer visitor service after being discharged from the day therapy unit at the Hospice three years ago.
“Having a volunteer visitor has helped my confidence and made me feel less alone. I don’t know what I’d have done without Muriel. I can to talk to her about anything – things which I don’t feel I want to talk to other people about, especially now my mother has died. I know I can rely on her.
“Sometimes when Muriel comes I’ve been having a bad day and by the time she has left, I’m feeling much better,’’ said Margaret. “My situation is hard and I do get depressed, so it’s good to be able to talk things over and I look forward to her coming each week. She always cheers me up.
“During our meetings we sit and chat, and have coffee or we do crafts together. When I feel well enough, I enjoy paper quilling and book folding, and Muriel has a go too. I’ve been teaching her!”
“She picks me up and takes me shopping or to hospital appointments. I’ve told them all about Muriel and how lucky I am to have a volunteer visitor.
“I appreciate Muriel coming to visit me; it’s like having a friend who’s on your side and I am very grateful to the volunteer visitor service – it’s marvellous!”
“I’ve always known about Saint Michael’s Hospice, but I don’t think people realise all the services there are to help you. The hospice team has even been to my house to look at practical ways to help us, and lent me equipment to use at home to make things easier.”
“At the moment, I come to Day Therapy once a week, which is wonderful. They help me to relax, pamper me a bit and sort out my medication. It’s so lovely to be able to come somewhere and to talk to people who understand what I’m going through.”