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Dementia journey made easier at Kandahar
Len Pepperell at Kandahar Court
Len Pepperell at Kandahar Court

Masterton man Len Pepperell will never forget one of the hardest days of his life; helping his beloved wife Judy move into a rest home for dementia care. But for Len and Judy the move was made easier with the support of staff at Enliven’s Kandahar Court.

Judy Pepperell was 55 when she started experiencing the very early stages of dementia. She and Len continued to live happily at home for almost a decade, but Len explains that eventually it become clear Judy needed the additional support and secure living that Kandahar Court could offer.

“Judy’s dementia had become much more progressed; I felt as though I had done all that I could for her at home and the family and I needed some extra support” says Len. “It was horrible that she had to move, but I knew that it was the best thing for her.”

Len says that the situation was made easier by the friendly and caring staff at Kandahar Court. “The staff were marvelous with Judy, and they helped me come to terms with the situation too. I had to learn that I didn’t have to worry about Judy all of the time anymore. Knowing that she was in safe hands and being cared for properly made it easier. I could just enjoy my time with her,” explains Len.

For five years Judy and Len were part of the Kandahar Court family. “I would go and see Judy every day. I decorated her room with all of her things. We would take walks together and join in with activities Judy could participate in,” recalls Len. “She couldn’t communicate anymore but I like to think that she was happy and knew that I was there.”

Judy was 70 when she passed away in January this year leaving a big space in Len’s life. “It was such a hard time but the staff were amazing and very supportive which made it a little easier.”

Now, Len wants to let others know it’s ok to feel anxious, and even sad, at times like that. But he says with the support of caring and trained health professionals, like those at Kandahar Court, it does get easier.

Len is also using his experiences to help other families in similar situations. He’ll soon start volunteering at Kandahar Court. “I’m happy to do all sorts really, anything that will help the staff and residents. However hard it was, I enjoyed my time at

Kandahar Court and want to make sure that others have the same experience.” Len would encourage all families of dementia residents to do the same.

For more information about Kandahar Court and services for people experiencing the dementia journey call (06) 370 0449. For information about other Enliven services call 0800 ENLIVEN (that’s 0800 36 54 83).

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