Discover the Heart of Home Instead Portsmouth: Beth's Story

The best way to explain who we are and what we do is through the stories of the remarkable individuals we care for.

Discover the Heart of Home Instead Portsmouth: Beth’s Story

When people ask me, “Who are Home Instead Portsmouth?” I often find it hard to encapsulate in a single sentence. The best way to explain who we are and what we do is through the stories of the remarkable individuals we care for. Let me introduce you to a lady I shall call Beth. Her name has been changed for privacy, but her story is very real.

A Glimpse into Beth’s Extraordinary Life

Beth and her family were phenomenally well-traveled, spending a significant proportion of their time in far-off exotic locations. Their home was a delightful place, so grand that during WWII it was commandeered by the Canadian army. Beth faced profound challenges in her life, losing her husband unexpectedly at a young age, leaving her at the helm of a multinational company with four children to raise.

When I first met Beth for our initial care consultation at her daughter’s behest, she bristled with the indignity of ‘having to have care’. She was incandescent with rage at her daughter for having even suggested it. I knew nothing about her or her history, I was simply met with an angry lady. An exceptionally angry lady.

The Initial Encounter

In an attempt to break the ice, I made tea. It turned out I made it incorrectly, but Beth was mollified sufficiently to accept the peace offering. Later, I learned that my tea-making skills were lacking and needed improvement. There I was, with my poorly made beverage, trying hard to impress and gain some leeway, only to be quizzed to a level that MI5 would have been proud of. Beth was no slouch, and I rapidly needed to up my game.

She was, however, relieved that ‘the help’ had not been sent to meet her and was grateful that the company director had been chosen to meet her. She then proceeded to remind me of her status and that others around would do well to remember this too, particularly actress Judy Dench. Beth refused to acknowledge her as a Dame, knowing her through church and being indignant Judy even had her own kneeler. “Just who did she think she was?!”

Building a Bond

And that was it. I looked at this woman, scowling so hard at the injustice of Dame Judy’s privilege within their church, that I burst out laughing. I couldn’t help myself. It was then that I tipped my tea down my front and sat there in a soggy mess. It could have gone either way, but Beth just howled with laughter at my distress, and a firm relationship was born.

From there, albeit in a slightly damp and disheveled manner, I was able to elicit her trust. I promised that her Care Professionals would be there at the time she’d chosen, be right for her, and that I would be on hand to keep an eye on proceedings. And it was at that point that I discovered that apparently I could not make tea.

“Yes,” she said, “you can come and have tea with me every other Friday, and I will report on how your staff have been, and I will teach you how to make tea!” Her history, as it transpired, was as part of the East India Trading Company, and tea was their stock in trade. And so my education began.

The Morning Routine

Beth’s condition deteriorated over time. During this period, her usual Care Professional went on holiday for a fortnight. This particular Care Professional visited her for two hours at 7:30 in the morning. She had visits at other times of the day, but the morning was her sanctuary and allowed time for Beth to come to at a pace that suited her. So I took over the call.

Each morning, I sat on the edge of her bed, her legs elevated, swollen, and sore, looking through old photographs with her. We would do this each morning until she felt well enough to manage some tea – which by now I could make.

Her wedding photos were amazing. She was jaw-droppingly gorgeous and reminded me of Sophia Loren. I told her so, and her eyes brimmed. It was quite a moment, and she gripped my hand tightly.

A Lasting Friendship

My favourite moment was a few days into our morning adventures. Not only were there albums and photos on the bedside table, but there were also several faded prints on the wall around her bed in an assortment of frames. One, though, caught my eye as it was adorned by a silver and turquoise feather boa. I asked why and was surprised by the pause and deep blush. “Oooh, Helen, that was a really wild night in Hong Kong!” She then giggled like a teenager.

Beth passed away not long after that. My friend, who had taught me so much, had gone, and I was bereft. It’s now three years since she died, but I smile every time I think of her – and I think of her often. This is why I love my job.

The Heart of Home Instead Portsmouth

At Home Instead Portsmouth, we are more than Care Professionals. We build relationships, share moments, and become part of the families we serve. Beth’s story is just one example of the countless bonds we form with our clients. We strive to provide personalised care that respects the dignity and individuality of each person, ensuring they feel valued and loved. This is who we are – compassionate, dedicated, and always here for you.

If you or your loved one needs care, reach out to Home Instead Portsmouth. Let us share in your journey and provide the support you deserve.