How my mother ended her days in the way she wanted

Bright Care's Tim Cocking
Bright Care’s Tim Cocking

How home care works, when staff work together to provide a care package that concentrates on the person.

Morag Paterson had one fundamental requirement when the time came that her much-loved and fiercely independent mother needed a little help: it had to be clear that the people who helped her really cared.


The 57-year-old school secretary from Craigentinny in Edinburgh turned to Bright Care in September 2013 and its care teams not only looked after her mother’s needs but maintained her personal dignity until her death in April this year.


Morag, who is married with two adult daughters, said: “She was 87 when she passed on and she was very content at the end.”



She explained that her mother was brought up on a farm near Laurencekirk in Aberdeenshire and moved to a tenement in Dundee when she married Morag’s father, a fireman. “She was horrified at living up a close after the wide open spaces of the north-east,” she said.


The country girl moved to Arbroath when Morag, an only daughter, was nine and she stayed in the same house for 43 years. The family faced sadness when Morag’s father died just before Christmas in 1999.


Morag said: “My mother was an auxiliary nurse and the care that she gave my dad when he was ill was selfless and unstinting. I knew I could never match that level of care if it came time for me to step in.”


Morag’s mother moved to Edinburgh, to a house round the corner, when macular degeneration meant she began to find it increasingly difficult to manage the day-to-day necessities of living. Eventually, she contracted throat cancer.


“The loss of independence was devastating,” said Morag. “She was so competent – she even celebrated her 80th birthday with a good, long hike with her local hillwalking club.”


Morag contacted a neighbour who recommended Bright Care. In the neighbour’s words, they were “reliable, dependable and they behave as if they really care”.


From September, Bright Care’s Camille was tasked with looking after Morag’s mother every morning from Monday to Friday and Maire from Ireland, took over on Saturday and Sunday.


“Mum was quite apprehensive at first because, to her, they seemed so young,” said Morag. “But she took to them and they took to her. She was very houseproud and very particular – and she didn’t hesitate to give them advice.


Eventually, Morag’s +mother had a medical crisis and Dorothy, Assistant Manager at Bright Care, reassessed the situation advising that two carers should attend in the mornings and evenings. Around this time Camille should have left for another assignment but she was able to stay longer, handing over the main reins to Angie and ensuring she knew Morag’s mother’s preferences.


Dorothy, Camille, Angie and Maire all worked around these morning and evening times and, taking direction from Morag’s mother, provided kindness and gentle humour. Morag said: “Everything was done in the way that Mum wanted. The house was peaceful and she was very content.”

Shouldn’t all care be delivered like this?


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