During Children’s Hospice Week (11-17 May) we will be hearing from each member of the Watkins family about how Tŷ Hafan supports them.
Mum Wendy gives an insight into what it’s like to care for her twins who have Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and how Tŷ Hafan is there for the whole family.
I think the biggest thing that Tŷ Hafan gives the twins is confidence. They are really quiet and sometimes don’t say anything at all in certain environments, but at Tŷ Hafan, they are totally different and can be themselves.
We have been coming to Tŷ Hafan since the twins were six and the team has worked incredibly hard to help them open up and talk about their feelings, as well as having a really good time and getting up to lots of mischief!
When they stayed in April, they were playing all sorts of practical jokes. They decorated the Maintenance Manager’s office in One Direction pictures, covered a toilet seat with cling film and tried to make Hayley, our vegetarian Family Support Practitioner, eat meat!
Having fun is what Tŷ Hafan is all about and that is why we all love it so much.
I must admit, when we first visited all those years ago it was quite daunting. But as soon as we walked through the doors, we were greeted by the warm and caring staff and could see all the colourful handprints on the wall – we just instantly felt at ease.
It has been tough at times. The boys condition has deteriorated over the years and they’re both now off their feet and need their wheelchairs to get around. We have to do everything for them, like washing and dressing them. They are 14 in September and caring for their needs as they grow into young men can be challenging and quite tiring at times.
That’s why when we come to Tŷ Hafan and have that break, it means so much. It’s a time to recharge the batteries, catch up on some much-needed sleep (I sleep better at Tŷ Hafan than I do at home!) and have a bit of ‘me’ time.
Tŷ Hafan cares for my needs as well as the twins. Their complementary therapist, Angela, will visit me at home and give me massages and reflexology. It gives me the opportunity to vent and maybe discuss things with Angela that I’m not comfortable telling my friends and family.
The care they provide both at home and in the hospice is phenomenal. The boys really love the hydrotherapy pool and would spend hours in there if they could. It’s a fantastic facility for them as it gives them the chance to feel weightless and enjoy movement out of their chairs.
Creating memories is a massive part of what Tŷ Hafan does. We have so many amazing memories and the twins have experienced things they never would have experienced anywhere else.
I can’t thank Tŷ Hafan enough for what they have done for our family. They help us make the most of every moment and are a lifeline for us. All I can say is thank God for Tŷ Hafan!