Barbara Buxton smiling

84 year old Barbara Buxton, is one of hundreds of our patients who found themselves isolated when the UK went into lock-down.

Barbara is sharing her story to raise awareness of our Summer Appeal; raising funds to continue to care for patients who, like Barbara, must still remain at home due to their medical condition.

Barbara spent 10 years caring for her husband, Ray after he was diagnosed with cancer. Our Hospice at Home nurses helped care for Ray in his final months. 

I wouldn’t speak to a single person from one week to the next.

When the UK went into lockdown, Barbara, who has respiratory disease COPD, was advised to shield and she lost contact with friends.

I ended up indoors by myself all day. I wouldn’t speak to a single person from one week to the next.

"Because I’m unable to walk far due to my COPD, I started to feel depressed and quickly found myself isolated.”

At the start of the pandemic, we had to close our doors to patients for the first time in our thirty year history. However we quickly adapted and moved all our support services online. In addition, we offered technical support and tablets for those who needed it.

Such a relief to have the support of Treetops

“During lockdown, it was such a relief to have the support of Treetops. I was put in touch with David, one of the volunteer befrienders, a lovely man. David phones me every week for a chat and introduced me to the Virtual Wellbeing Café.

“The Café sets me up for the rest of the day. It makes me realise I am not alone and there are other people in similar situations to me. I can see their faces and chatting away has made a huge difference to my life.”

There are hundreds like me

Barbara will continue to shield despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson lifting all restrictions at the start of the week.

Nothing changes for me. I can’t risk going out with my health.

“The worst scenario would be me getting Covid. If I became really ill, apart from calling 111, what would I do? I’m living by myself. There’s no one to get me a cup of tea or some paracetamol. And I’m not alone in this situation; there are hundreds of people like me.

Treetops is a lifeline

“For me, Treetops is unique,” added Barbara. “It offers people like me a lifeline and life-changing opportunities that I just cannot get anywhere else.

“I know that if I phone Treetops, I will speak to someone who can reassure me, encourage me to cosy down with a cup of tea for a while. If you’ve not spoken to anyone for two days, it is a huge comfort.

The support, the friendship and the kindness which Treetops gives me is second to none.

Barbara Buxton smiling