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Christine and Jim’s story

The PSPA Support Grant provides benefits for both of us.”

Christine’s husband, Jim, has always been very active, enjoying a wide range of activities including wind surfing, cycling and walking. Jim’s vision and PSP diagnosis could have put a stop to this interest, but a PSPA Support Grant has helped it continue by funding one to one exercise classes. 

“Exercise is really important to Jim. He was always doing something and even set up a local dog training club and shared hobbies like wind surfing, cycling and walking with his family.

Unfortunately, Jim developed tunnel vision and had already begun walking using a white stick, after being registered as partially sighted. This did affect his activities, as over time his sight has decreased further and he can only see a little, directly in front of him.

Jim did try some yoga classes, however, due to his sight issues, a class environment wasn’t really suitable for what he needed. He still kept busy however, he began volunteering at the local hospital. And it was due to this role that we were invited to a royal garden party.

After the garden party, Jim took quite a bad tumble. Around this time, I also noticed his speech had become affected and he had started to get a bit of dementia too.

We went to the GP after the fall, and Jim was referred to the Older Person’s Services. On referral, they did a number of investigations, including doing some scans. It was following this, the consultant diagnosed Jim with a mixture of PSP and MSA.

Following his diagnosis, Jim did receive a number of week’s physio support which he enjoyed. And after the course was completed, he continued the exercises at home. But it’s not quite the same as being given one to one support, in person.

I came across PSPA by chance. I rang the number, not really knowing what to expect but I am so glad I did.

I signed up to attend the Carers Support Groups. Becoming a carer was a steep learning curve, on the go 24/7, which was a real eye opener to me.  These monthly meetings gave me a chance to discuss challenges and what I felt we both needed at the time. It was during one discussion, about Jim’s love of exercise, that the group leader mentioned applying for a PSPA Support Grant.

I thought it sounded like a good idea but I must admit at that time, I wasn’t convinced exercise classes could be funded. I thought the funding would be more for people who needed equipment of some sort or help at home.

I researched the grants on the PSPA website and contacted a few of the healthcare professionals involved in Jim’s care, to see if they could help with the application.

Jim’s psychiatric nurse agreed to complete the application on our behalf. She must have done a good job as I couldn’t believe it when I heard from PSPA to say our application had been successful. It was like a dream.

We were awarded a grant of £250 to provide Jim with one to one personal training sessions once a week at the local leisure centre.

The personal trainer, Lauren, is great. She bases the exercises on the ones the physio initially developed for Jim, helping with balance and core strength. And he loves it. When I drop him off he has real enthusiasm in the way he moves and walks. On top of that, I get an hour to myself too, to go to the shops or whatever. Then when I pick Jim up, we have a coffee out before heading home again. So, the grant benefits us both.

I was pleased to hear we can apply for a grant each year, so I am hoping to apply again in 2024 to help keep the sessions going for Jim. Or of course, if things change, there might be something else we need, that the grant can help with.”