Littlehampton man separated from his mother fears she will not remember him after the pandemic

A Littlehampton man will not be able to see his mother at Christmas due to the pandemic.

Friday, 11th December 2020, 1:33 pm

In his 65 years on this planet, Mike Northeast has always spent Christmas Day with his mother Christine.

But due to the pandemic, this will be his first Christmas without the 93-year-old as she lives in a care home – a heartbreaking story shared by thousands of families up and down the country.

Mike, an Arun District Councillor, has not seen his mother since February due to the pandemic – time which is even more precious given she has dementia.

Mike Northeast from Littlehampton with his mother Christine

He said: “Not being able to chat with her in person means I’m not sure she will be able to remember me.

“Dementia is a cruel disease that takes the person away from you, and you are left with someone who is really not there with you in mind.”

He praised The Martlets care home in Fairlands, East Preston, for their superb care for his mother during the pandemic.

He hoped to be able to see and speak to her via an online Zoom call set up by the staff – and said technology today had made social isolation easier.

He said: “It has been a great comfort, and it has been an interesting challenge as well for the elderly people around us to use the technology.

He recalled a story told by his 99-year-old father Stanley Northeast, a decorated veteran from the Second World War who is still living independently, who was unable to tell his mother he was going to France on the eve of his departure as planned, leaving her with months of worry.

“When you speak to people who have experienced the war, they think we are in a far better situation now in terms of communication.”

He added: “My dad uses Facetime [for video calls] because he likes to see the person he is talking to.”

Mike has been recruited by the NHS as a vaccine champion, with training ‘to explain to people the positive reasons for getting vaccinated to help prevent the spread of diseases’, he said. Of the vaccine news, he said it would not help him see his mother this Christmas – but was a ray of hope for next year.