International Day of Charity: Jeanette’s Story

Jeanette is 91 years old and has been coming to LifeCare’s “The Cottage” day club near Portobello for 11 years. Jeanette first joined the club right before her 80th birthday, and fondly remembers eating cake with other clients to celebrate it. Just last year, staff threw Jeanette a big party for her 90th birthday too, with music, disco lights, and party food.

Jeanette is proudly Edinburgh born and raised. Her late husband’s name was Neil – and she has three children. When she was a young woman, she worked as a civil servant at St Andrew’s House. Jeanette has been living with dementia for over 11 years and has poor mobility. She is unable to live alone, so her son lives with her.

Jeanette has two grandchildren and recently welcomed a great granddaughter into the world. There is a beautiful picture of the two of them together displayed in the common room at the cottage – the frame was hand decorated by Jeanette herself.

Jeanette “thoroughly enjoys” coming to the club, but remembers feeling uncertain about starting to begin with..

“At first, I didn’t want to come, which is the truth, and my daughter persuaded me. It’s made a big difference to my life, at 91 I’d be stuck in the house. I’m very comfortable.”

On the impact the club has had on her Mum’s life, Jeanette’s daughter says:

“After Mum’s diagnosis of Dementia, a place luckily became available at LifeCare. Mum loves coming to the club 3 days a week; she participates well and enjoys quizzes and games. The service is fantastic, it’s been a game changer and really helps to promote her independence”.

Whilst at the club, Jeanette enjoys playing darts and dominoes and especially doing quizzes – she thinks they help to keep her mind active. Jeanette has grown close to the staff during her time with us – and is grateful to them for bringing in videos and DVDs for her to watch when she is at home and has amassed quite the collection! The staff at the cottage have remained consistent over the years, which is especially important for clients living with dementia and for the relationship-based approach that LifeCare prides itself on.

Jeanette and lead carer, Tricia, have an especially close bond. On their relationship, Tricia said: “I have worked with Jeanette for over 11 years we have shared many special moments, good and bad. We have laughed a lot at the names she has chosen for her walking aids – especially when she realised, she had named one after my husband! Jeanette took great pleasure in announcing the birth of her great granddaughter Indie, and Jeanette and I regularly share news together about Indie and my sister’s granddaughter, Sophie.”


To make a donation and bring an older person like Jeanette those extra years of zest, visit: Donate to LifeCare | Support LifeCare – Edinburgh Charity