Posts Tagged ‘carer’

I’ve said it before, but I make no apology for saying it again…dementia is a cruel illness.

As you’ll know if you’ve been following by blog posts for a wee while, my Dad suffers from vascular dementia and has been cared for at home by my Mum 24/7. However a few weeks ago we initiated the process with Social Work to get Dad into a nursing home full-time (you can read more about this in Time To Help…Please!).

Mum’s really been struggling to cope with caring for Dad full-time as he is now totally reliant on Mum to do everything for him…including the simple things we all do without thinking because they’re just straightforward basic tasks. For someone who has dementia, simple everyday tasks which we all normally do without thinking, become strange and alien to them. e.g. washing themself, dressing, feeding themself.

This last week my Dad would not eat or drink anything more than just a couple of mouthfuls of food or liquid, so on Wednesday Mum called in our GP, and he got Dad admitted to hospital as he was suffering from dehydration. While I’m sad my Dad’s ended up in hospital, it is the best place for him and for Mum, as it takes the pressure off Mum caring for him but also means he’s getting professional care. Having now had discussions with the doctor at the hospital and then with Dad’s social worker, it looks like Dad will now remain in hospital until there is free space for him at a local nursing home. That means Dad will now go straight into a nursing home from hospital…he will never be home again…

I’m fine about Dad going into a nursing home as he really needs the level of help they can offer him there, although when I think about the fact that Dad will probably never be home again I find that very upsetting. I try to remind myself though that while Dad is still alive, his body is still here, but the person who was my Dad really left a long time ago…

As far as Mum is concerned, she seems a bit more relaxed now as if a burden has been lifted from her. I know she still feels guilty about Dad going into care, however as hubby and me, Dad’s social worker and various others have said to her, it’s not that she’s failed Dad in any way, it’s simply that she’s done her best up to now caring for him, but he now needs more care than Mum is able to provide for him. When Dad was admitted to hospital on Wednesday Mum was fine about it as she realised it was what was best for Dad, and continued to be ok about it all until we went to visit Dad last night…

When we went into the ward to see Dad, he was lying on his bed slouched down with his head off his pillow, sleeping…he looked small and frail…and I think that was when it all hit Mum…she got quiet upset seeing Dad like that. Although he was actually a bit better last night than he’d been since he went into hospital as he actually answered us a few times when we spoke to him…not necessarily with comprehensible answers, but at least he answered us! Dad might have spoken to us tonight, but he didn’t know who Mum or I were, and no matter how long that has happened for I still find that sad and upsetting…though I can’t imagine how Mum must feel having been married to him for over 55 years!

Dementia is a cruel illness which robs the sufferer of their personality and leaves them almost like an empty body. I don’t think people really understand how dementia affects the sufferer and their family/friends until you’ve actually experienced it yourself…I hope you never will!

In conclusion, can I ask you to help me raise money for Alzheimer’s Scotland as they do a great job supporting and helping Alzheimer/dementia sufferers in Scotland.JustGiving - Sponsor me now!Thank you

Well that’s us at Sunday night again, so where has this last week gone?!

This time last week, Dad wasn’t too well, and we were looking forward with trepidation and relief that come the Monday, Dad was going into a care home for a week’s respite are so Mum could get a well-earned rest.

This must have been one of the quickest weeks ever (I know Mum would agree!). I’ve taken Mum out somewhere every day bar yesterday when she went to my cousin’s for dinner – We’ve been out for lunch, dinner, shopping, wandering round the shops, as well as cleaning out my aunt’s house, so I’ve kept her busy! Normally when Dad’s at home Mum doesn’t really get much time away from him at all, as she doesn’t like to leave Dad alone for very long these days so I think it’s been good for her to get a chance to spend some time for herself…even if most of it has been with me!

I think Mum’s enjoyed her week, even if she’s maybe not had a chance to do some of the things in her house she’d intended doing…but then a week’s respite shouldn’t be spent doing housework should it!

Anyway, it may have been a quick week in some ways, however in others it’s been a very tough week, wondering how Dad is and how he’s getting on – I know Mum has phoned the care home several time to see how he is and been told he’s ok, confused and a bit emotional but doing alright. I can’t imagine just how tough this has been for Mum being apart from Dad, after all they’ve been married for over 50 years!

So tomorrow we go back to the care home and pick Dad up and bring him home again. I wonder whether he’ll understand what’s happening and that he’s going home…will he even know who we are? Time will tell!

I’ve been writing about what’s been happening with Dad because vascular dementia is such a rotten illness, and is indiscriminate about who it affects, so I just want to let you know a little of the challenges and daily stresses that face both the sufferer and their carers, and how draining physically and emotionally that can be for the carer.

Finally, I’d just like to say on behalf of both Mum and I a huge thank you to all who have prayed for Mum and Dad this week, and those who have phoned or visited Mum to see how she was getting on – Mum really has been appreciated it, and I’ve been thankful that so many of you have offered support to Mum too during this difficult time.

Thank you.  .x

Imagine a man who…

  • Graduated from university with a first class honours degree.
  • Worked for Rolls Royce.
  • Became a further education lecturer, teaching mathematics and science.
  • Served on his local council as a councillor for many years.
  • Played several musical instruments and was well known in the jazz and big band scene.
  • Composed and arranged music for bands/groups/ensembles/individuals.
  • Avid football fan.

Now imagine another man – This man…

  • Spends most of his time in bed.
  • When up, struggles to stay awake.
  • Is dizzy whenever he stands up.
  • Rarely goes out the house.
  • Doesn’t recognise people or places he knows well.
  • Struggles to remember what he’s been told just a few minutes earlier.
  • Has difficultly distinguishing between reality and fiction. i.e. He’s adamant about some things which we know are not real.
  • Has lost some of the ability to perform everyday tasks.
  • 

So who are these men I’ve described? Well both are the same man, and that man is my Dad!

The first man I described was my Dad prior to the onset of vascular dementia, while the second is a current description of him.

Dementia is one of those illnesses which I think unless you’re directly affected by it, will think it’s just a big word for someone who’s forgetful…if only!

Life has been drastically changed in the last year for both my Mum and my Dad, as my Dad’s dementia has quickly progressed to it’s current state. Mum now has help Dad with most things as well as explain the same things over and over again to him.

It’s sad to see someone you know and love deteriorating before your eyes, especially as there is nothing we can do to prevent it. However I think what makes it even harder for my Mum in particular, is the fact that my Dad was obviously a very clever guy, but this illness has now reduced him to someone who doesn’t even recognise family or friends anymore.

I find it hard when with Dad, so I can only imagine how Mum feels coping with him 24/7 – Mind you at least the doctor agreed a couple of weeks ago to try and get her some help, as personally I felt she was taking on too much as I can’t be there with her and Dad all the time.

Dad’s told Mum a number of times in the last few months that he’s not got long to go – Mum was understandably upset by this, as I was when she told me. However the doctor still tells us that other than his dementia, Dad is very well for his age, so maybe it’s just because Dad doesn’t really know what’s happening to him that he’s saying this.

Last Friday was the 25th March, and on Friday, Dad apparently asked Mum what date it was, and when she answered it was the 25th, Dad started wishing himself “Happy Birthday”…There was only one problem with this…Dad’s birthday is the 25th of April not the 25th of March! So very sad.

In closing I’d just like to ask you to pray for my Dad, and also for my Mum as she cares for him as dementia is more than just someone being a bit forgetful, it’s a debilatating illness that affects not only for the sufferer but also their family and friends.

In addition, please pray for all those around the world suffering from, or caring for someone with demenita, it’s a tough life, and one that everyone concerned needs our prayerful support for.