Art therapy to social sessions: Marie Curie Hospices help people make the most of life

As part of Hospice Care Week, we're taking a look at different aspects of Marie Curie's nine hospices in the UK. As well as caring for inpatients, our hospices offer lots of daily activities and support sessions, from art and exercise to practical and emotional help. Many of the people who use these activities live at home and just come to the hospice for the day.

Cheryl Atwood and Pam Dawe explain how they have benefitted from regularly visiting the Marie Curie Hospice, West Midlands.

Cheryl Atwood

Cheryl Atwood for blog
Cheryl likes to paint ceramics

“Coming to the hospice every Thursday helps me because I can see other people and get out of the house. It also gives my parents, who are my main carers, a break.

“When I’m at the hospice, I like to do painting: I’ve been decorating ceramic money boxes and I’m doing some Christmas baubles at the moment. I also enjoy the quizzes: sometimes they are general knowledge, but the quiz this morning was about flowers. They help to keep my mind active. I also have the Reiki massage once a week.

“That’s the thing about coming here: it’s informal and you can do as much or as little as you want. No one bothers me, if I’m not up to doing much then that’s OK. It’s the relaxed and informal approach that really makes a difference.

“It also makes a nice change from the hospital: I have skin cancer and the rest of my life revolves around medical appointments. So it’s great that there’s somewhere I can come to that’s just down the road. It’s perfect.”

Pam Dawe

Pam spends time sewing

“I come to the hospice once a week and sew and paint and talk! I like to sew mice, birds and other things. I leave them here and people make a donation to the hospice.

“When I had my three daughters I started sewing because in those days we couldn’t afford to buy clothes. I’ve now got 11 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren, or the other way around. I can never remember!

“I used to be a window dresser in Hall Green in Birmingham. People used to comment on the colours I’d put together. And friends used to ask me to come and sort out their wardrobes for them.

“Coming to the hospice and doing some sewing or painting relaxes me because I’m putting my mind to something else. And it gives me the chance to be creative. It has also opened up the possibility of meeting people again, which is important because I live on my own.

“I’ve had cancer, which left me with scarring on my lungs so I have breathing difficulties. When Marie Curie found out I had no one to help me at home they got someone in for me.

“The first time I came here I felt so relaxed and peaceful. Everyone is so kind here – they can’t do enough for me.”

Find out more about our Marie Curie Hospices, including the daily activities on offer at each.