In Wednesday’s paper, the Herald, there was a very poignant article by Sally Magnusson entitled Magnusson’s torment at mother’s dementia battle. It really hit home for both Mum and me, and I’m sure many other’s who have family members or friends, who are suffering from dementia.
As you’ll know if you’ve been following my blog for a while, my Dad was diagnosed with dementia a few years ago, and over the last couple of years his condition has deteriorated very rapid. My Dad is still living at home with my Mum, with my Mum caring for him 24/7.
As Sally Magnusson says in her article in the Herald this week
“Caring for my mother at home, even only part-time in my case with the help of my sisters and latterly a team of wonderful carers, has been psychologically gruelling and physically draining,” she said.
“How much worse for those who are caring alone and cannot afford extra help.”
when you’re caring for someone with dementia, it’s not something which just takes up a small part of your time, it is a 24/7 job, one which is not just physically exhausting, but also emotionally draining.
Please don’t think dementia is just about forgetting a few things, it’s not, it’s a horrendous disease which sucks out the person you know from their body and leaves an empty, helpless shell. It’s a disease which not only affects the person with the disease but also those who care for them, as there’s no remission for them from looking after the sufferer.
The person I know my Dad to be isn’t here anymore, yes, when I look at him I see my Dad, but that’s about the only part of him which is still recognisable as Dad:
- He is no longer able to dress himself – Mum has to help him do that
- He no longer knows or understands how to wash himself – Mum does that 6 days a week with a carer coming in to give Dad a bath once a week
- He doesn’t recognise family members…including me which was very upsetting when it first happened. Although I’m now used to him not knowing me, it still is very upsetting
- He doesn’t recognise or know people he’s known for years, such as neighbours and friends
- When outside the house, he doesn’t know where he is
- He sleeps most of the time
One of the saddest things watching Dad’s condition worsen, was when he went through a stage of bursting out crying for no apparent reason, other than just simply frustration at what was happening to him. I know how upsetting it was for Mum and me to see, but imagine how my Dad must have felt!
I do my best to support my Mum as she cares for Dad 24/7, however I never feel as though I’m able to do enough because I can see how difficult it is for Mum. On the plus side, Dad’s been into a local care hom,e a couple of time in the last 4/5 months for a week’s respite care, which has allowed Mum to get a bit of a break and a rest. In the last few weeks Mum’s talked about how she’s not sure how much longer she will be able to look after Dad at home.
It’s sad it’s come to this for Dad, but for the sake of my Mum, and her health, I was pleased when Mum told me she had asked her social worker to put Dad’s name down on the waiting list for the local care home. It’s upsetting to think of Dad not being at home, but ultimately he doesn’t really know where he is or who he’s with anymore, so as long as he’s comfortable and being looked after well, that is all I can ask.
If you are a praying person, can I ask you to pray for all those suffering from dementia and also for those caring for them. Thank you.