Family’s tribute to mum who died of suspected coronavirus

Helen Smith, a 74-year-old woman with vascular dementia, died of suspected coronavirus on Saturday.

Family’s tribute to mum who died of suspected coronavirus

By Jack Thomson and Susan Ripoll

The son of a woman who died of suspected coronavirus at a Glasgow care home has said “life will never be the same” without her.

Wearing protective gear, George Hillhouse was allowed to be with his 74-year-old mum, Helen Smith, in the hours before her death at Almond Court in Drumchapel on Saturday.

George described his mum as “the life and soul of the party”, a woman who loved and cherished her grandchildren, and said she “meant a hell of a lot to us”.

Speaking about the situation, he said: “It was a horrible situation to be in and to be there on your own makes it difficult.

“She was a wee busy body. Mum was the life and soul of the party, always on the go. She cherished her grand kids more than anything, she loved her grandkids.”

Helen, who had vascular dementia, had been living in the home for four years and her family would visit regularly.

“Mum had never been on her own… never,” George explained.

“We visited every other day at the care home, between my brother and my other family and it was a relief in a sense knowing that mum had somebody there with her and it was difficult at the time because I could not reach out to anybody and just get that hug or that cuddle to get support from other family. It’s so, so, so difficult.

“You’re sitting there with a gown, you’re sitting there with masks and you’re sitting there with gloves which all of the staff at Almond Court did have. Every time they came into mum’s room the PPE was there for them.

“I will never see my mum again now that she’s passed because of the Covid 19 restrictions… Life will never be the same without mum. Mum was the life and soul to us, she meant a hell of a lot to us.”

A number of residents died at Almond Court, a purpose-built care home that provides 24-hour support to older people and those with dementia.

George added: “What I can’t get my head around is why people in care homes, residents and staff, are not being tested for Covid-19.

“So you’re getting the death certificate through, which I have got through this morning by email, and it’s a presumed Covid-19 and it’s not fair that the staff and the other residents are not being tested.”

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