If you’ve been following my Tweets in the last week, you’ll be aware that I’ve been on holiday from work since Thursday of last week. The main reason I took the time off was because last Thursday my Dad, who suffers from vascular dementia was going into a local care home for a week’s respite care, to give my Mum a break – My Mum still cares for Dad 24/7 at home, and has been finding it increasingly difficult to cope.
So last Thursday afternoon, Mum and I took Dad to the care home. When we got there, we were waiting for Dad’s assigned carer to come and get us and take us to Dad’s room to get him settled in, when Dad burst out crying…it was heartbreaking to see, and Mum got a bit upset, but it was simply because Dad didn’t know where he was (despite us telling him lots of times) or why he was there (again, despite us having told him a number of times).
So we got Dad settled into his room, and Joan, his assigned carer said she’d take Dad along to the day room and get him a cup of tea and a biscuit, so Mum decided we should just go then, rather than stay and confuse Dad. As we were getting ready to go, Mum told Dad we’d be back to take him home in a week so he just had to stay here for a few days. Dad’s response to this was, “Thank goodness for that, as I don’t want to stay here!”. Probably not the best thing Mum could have heard before we left Dad, but then we have to remember that in 2 minutes time Dad will have forgotten what we’ve told him anyway. Having said that it didn’t stop Mum getting a wee bit upset again as we left Dad – It must be hard after being married for well over 50 years and now seeing Dad like this…
Anyway, onto cheerier things…over the last week while Dad was in the care home, I spent some time with Mum every day, either going for a meal and/or going to various shopping centres for a wander round the shops, as well as doing our usual weekly supermarket shopping. The first couple of days Mum still seemed quite tense and stressed, although after that I think she began to relax and seemed to enjoy her “free-time“, even although every day she did still tell me she missed Dad.
Before we knew it, the week was over and so yesterday (Thursday) it was time to go back to the care home and collect Dad and bring him home. When I got over to Mum and Dad’s to pick Mum up to head down to the care home, Mum seemed quite stressed and was quite nippy with me several times, although maybe that was because she was worried about Dad as the care home had phoned her this morning to say Dad had a urine infection. Mind you they’s told her there was a prescription ready for Dad at our health centre, and instead of just leaving it there so we could pick it up when we were on our way to the care home to collect Dad, Mum got a bus down to the health centre this morning and collected the prescription and then got the medication at the chemist! I was a wee bit annoyed at her for that as she has a sore back/hip and so walking to/from the bus/health centre would not have done her back/hip much good…particularly when we could easily have collected it on our way past the health centre to the care home!
When we got to the care home, Dad was sitting in the day room with several other folk, with some music playing in the background. The worst thing about it was Dad didn’t know who Mum was! He seemed to know he knew her, but she had to explain who she was…that was sad. We brought Dad home, and all the way home in the car and when we got back to their house, he kept telling us he had no idea where he was, where he was going or why…that was sad.
When we got back to Mum and Dad’s house Mum opened the door and went in, Dad just stood on the doorstep - Mum told him to come in, and he said he’d come in in a minute. Mum told him to come in again, and Dad got annoyed and shouted,”Alright I’ll come in then!” – Argument number 1 already.
It funny in a sad way, as Mum and Dad very rarely ever argued when I was growing up, and when they did it was usually over something I had done (or not done!). However these days, Dad does get quite annoyed and a bit verbally aggressive towards Mum at times, but although we know it’s simply one of the side-effects of his dementia, it’s still upsetting for Mum.
So Dad’s back home with Mum again. I just hope that this last week when Dad’s had his week’s respite care, that I have been able to help Mum relax and recharge, so she is able to care for Dad at home again. It’s been a tough week for Mum not having Dad with her, but knowing she needed a break and that he’s getting well looked after. It’s also been a tough week for me, as I am finding it hard trying to stay positive and strong for Mum (as well as for hubby with his illness), I’m not complaining just wanting to point out to you all that when someone in your family suffers from dementia, it not only affects their carer(s), but their whole family.
Mum tells me she prays for patience a lot, and I can understand why, as I too pray for patience daily. Although we both need patience in different ways, I am sure God can, and will, answer our prayers for patience.
I’d ask that if you are a praying kind of person, you pray for my Mum and Dad, and that Mum will find the patience and strength to provide the care dad needs, without detriment to her own health. Thank you.