East Cheshire Hospices’ latest recruit has first-hand knowledge of the true value of the work she is doing. Before her father, George Higginbotham, died three years ago, Claire Halsey witnessed the enormous joy her father had from his dementia companion. “My father had a huge interest in photography all his life and would spend hours out in the hills taking pictures,” says Claire.
“His quality of life was impacted by his dementia but luckily he had a companion who shared his love of the camera and he was able to enjoy his hobby again due to her support. She made a massive difference to his last years”. Claire trained and qualified as a clinical psychologist in England before moving to Australia to live and work for 17 years.
Since returning to the UK, she has written and broadcast on a wide range of issues that affect families, children and young people including the TV programme ‘Driving Mum and Dad Mad’ for ITV 1. She has also provided psychological input on the Lorraine Kelly series ‘Chawners Last Chance’. She has written several books on parenting and child development and continues to write online.
A mother-of three, Claire lives only a few minutes’ walk away from the Hospice and knows only too well the excellent care provided at the Hospice as her mother, Patricia, spent time there in 2010. “It’s a gift and a privilege to be able to lead this new project for the Hospice,” she says. “ Having been a carer myself, I know how important support from others in the community can be. “My father was helped enormously by his companion and I’m delighted to be part of this new scheme which will be able to help others like him”.