Woman excited to be reunited with mother after ‘very tough year’

A woman whose mother is in a Derby care home has spoken of her excitement at being able to hold hands when lockdown restrictions ease in March.

Jayne Graham has not been able to properly see her mum, Sylvia Fearn, for almost a year after the Government’s Covid rules prevented her from entering Barchester – Bluebell Park Care Home In Chellaston.

Instead, like many others across the country, she has only been allowed to visit behind a wall of perspex or at a three-metre distance in the care home gardens.

Yet the Government announced yesterday that care residents can hold hands with one visitor from Monday, March 8, allowing social contact between family members for the first time in 12 months.

For Jayne, this news provided a huge boost after a “very tough” year.

“It means the world, it’s absolutely priceless. It’s like all my Christmasses in one go,” the 57-year-old said. “After the first lockdown I went 16 weeks without seeing her, and then I could only see her in the garden.

“As the cold weather came in they set up a porta-cabin with a roof-to-floor perspex screen between us to keep her safe.

“You have to book in to use the cabin and I was next meant to go on March 8, so hopefully I’ll be one of the first to get an appointment with the new rules.

“I’ll still have to have a rapid Covid test and wear PPE, but I’m so excited to get to hold hands with her after all this time.”

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As an only child who lost her father when she was just 21, Jayne developed an incredibly-close connection with her mother over the years, making the separation even more challenging.

Sylvia, 87, had worked for years as a single parent to put her daughter through university and has always been there to support Jayne throughout her life.

Since Sylvia was diagnosed with dementia eight years ago, Jayne has been more eager than ever to embrace the time they have together.

Jayne and Sylvia before the pandemic
(Image: Jayne Graham)

Soon, with restrictions slowly easing, they can properly enjoy each other’s company once more.

Jayne, from Lichfield in Staffordshire, said: “Being an only child has meant I’ve developed a special bond with mum. She’s given me the best life, she’s the loveliest person you’ll ever meet.

“We have a cuddly relationship. I’d go and see her at least three times a week at the care home before all of this and the staff would comment on how close we were.

“She’s just a wonderful person, she’s loved by everyone. Her carers always tell me how delightful she is.

“I’ve been posting updates on Facebook throughout the year and when the Government made its announcement yesterday I had loads of messages saying, ‘This is great for you and your mum!’

“It’s really nice that so many people care about her.”

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