Marion spent many years looking after her mum and says moving on can be hard

Marion Murphy, who’s 67, moved to Norfolk with her mother Vera in September 2011, just as her mother discovered her bowel cancer had returned. Not long after the move, Vera’s health deteriorated even further:

“My Mum loved Norfolk. Both her parents were from here and she had spent much of her youth here. Five weeks after the move she fell and broke her wrist.The trauma of this worsened what I had thought was just old age and I realised we were dealing with dementia as well as cancer.

I discovered just how hard the life of a carer could be, although we did manage without any help at all – in fact, I didn’t even know there was any help available. Eventually I rang social services and had a Carer’s Assessment and from that got some help.”

Marion, who’d worked as a reflexologist, received a Learning Grant from Norfolk Carers which she used to take a Holistic Fertility Therapy course. It helped to give her another focus – something else to concentrate on. However Vera’s condition continued to worsen and Marion says the final six months of her life were particularly hard:

“I kept her here, at home, where she wanted to be right to the last breath but we had lots of struggles with many agencies; often feeling really let down, forgotten and useless. I felt really battered and bruised by the experience.  However, bad things do happen in life but we can learn from our experiences and if we feel able, use our knowledge to help others.”

Marion is now helping many other people who find themselves in a similar situation. She volunteers for the charity ‘Caring Friends’ in Dereham, as well as for Dementia-friendly Dereham and for Alzheimer’s Society.

Eventually I started doing voluntary work and I have to say that this is helping me to heal. I have made lots of new friends and really feel I am making a difference, albeit a small one, by sharing my experiences with others.”

We’re really grateful that Marion has also volunteered for Norfolk Carers by helping us to redesign and improve our Norfolk Carers Handbook and website.

The Norfolk Carers Advice Line can provide help, support and a listening ear to carers and people whose caring role has come to end. It’s open from 9-5pm Mon to Fri and 10-2pm on Saturdays: 0808 808 9876.