Posts Tagged ‘Home care’

Well thank goodness that’s us just about at the end of 2013, because for me, although it seems to have been a very quick year, it’s been a really rotten year!

Dad at our weddingI’m getting a feeling of deja vu here, as I seem to recall saying at the end of 2012 it had been a tough year for me…if I’d know what lay ahead in 2013, 2012 would have seemed like a walk in the park!

So we’re almost at the end of 2012. I don’t know about you, but this year seems to be over nearly as soon as it began! I know some will tell me that’s a sign of getting old, but I refuse to believe that, as I think it’s simply been because there’s been so much going on in my life this year…again.

I should have known when 2013 it was going to be a tough year as right from the start of the year it was apparent that Dad’s dementia was deteriorating, as from just before the close of 2012, Dad would not eat or drink anything, and thus was hospitalised on 4th January for the 2nd time in a few months.

Sadly this time he did not recover, and at the start of February Dad was discharged from hospital to his nursing home on end of life care. I think it was only when the nurses at the nursing home said “end of life care” that Mum finally realised what the hospital had been saying for the last couple of weeks. On the 21st of February, my Dad lost his life to vascular dementia.

Aunt Mae (Aug 2011)In January my Aunt Mae (Mum’s sister) was moved from her care home to the nursing home my Dad was in, as her dementia was causing her to become violent towards the staff at her care home and they could no longer cope with her there.

The week after Dad’s funeral, we got summoned to my Aunt Mae’s care home as they were waiting on an ambulance for her as she had a bad chest infection. It turned out they thought she’s had a mild stroke, but when they went to do the CT scan to confirm this, she had another stroke. Sadly on 3rd April my Aunt Mae passed away, due to a combination of her stroke and her dementia.

I’m not quite sure how I got through those months as being the guardian for both my Dad and Aunt Mae, I had to do all the organisation (with help from Mum and Sandy), clear out both Dad’s and Aunt Mae’s belongings from the nursing home, stay strong form Mum who, as you can imagine, was devastated. To be honest I don’t think it really all hit me until about May and then I really struggled to come to terms with the death of 2 of the people I’ve been closest to.

Unfortunately this was not the end of the bereavements for my family, as in mid November my Dad’s sister died, also from dementia, which knocked my Mum for six again, as we were always quite close with my Auntie Mabel and her family as when I was young, we used to spend just about the whole of our summer holiday’s in Cambridge with her and her family.

Sandy’s side of my family also suffered a couple of bereavements this year, so all in all we’ve had far more than our fair share of family bereavements this year. Add to these bereavements, my hubby’s health issues and my own on-going health issues, and you can see it’s not been a great year for us.

I’m still finding life quite tough just now, as I continue to miss my Dad in particular, but there’s one song that has been stuck in my head for a few months now which keeps reminding me that no matter what I’m facing, and how bad life seems, God is there for me and He will always be there for me – Here’s Kutless with Promise of a Lifetime:

So as you can see 2013 has been a rotten year so I’ll be glad to see the back of it! 2014 can only be a better year can’t it!

I hope your 2013 has been a far happier year than mine has been, however if not, I hope you have had the love and support of family and friends to help you through the year.

I pray that as we look ahead to 2014 you may go forward with confidence knowing that whatever situations you have to deal with, God is by your side not just during this Christmas season, but all year-long.

The Promise of a Lifetime by Kutless
I have fallen to my knees
As I sing a lullaby of pain
I’m feeling broken in my melody
As I sing to help the tears go away Then I remember the pledge you made to me 

I know you’re always there
To hear my every prayer inside
I’m clinging to the promise of a lifetime
I hear the words you say
To never walk away from me and leave behind
The promise of a lifetime

Will you help me fall apart
Pick me up, take me in your arms
Find my way back from the storm
And you show me how to grow
Through the change

I still remember the pledge you made to me

I know you’re always there
To hear my every prayer inside
I’m clinging to the promise of a lifetime
I hear the words you say
To never walk away from me and leave behind
The promise of a lifetime  I am holding on to the hope I have inside
With you I will stay through every day
Putting my understanding aside

I am comforted
To know your always there
To hear my every prayer inside
I’m clinging to the promise of a lifetime.
I hear the words you say
To never walk away from me and leave behind
The promise of a lifetime

I know you’re always there
To hear my every prayer inside
I’m clinging to the promise of a lifetime
Looking back at me
I know that you can see
My heart is open to the promise of a lifetime 

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.

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

What a day! It’s been a day full of lots of different emotions. It’s been a day Mum has been looking forward to ever since she agreed that she wanted Dad to go into a care home for a week’s respite care. It’s been a day that’s been a long time coming, and one which I personally think Mum could have been doing with arriving much much sooner.

The day didn’t start great for me for various reasons, including not sleeping well last night and then hubby going back to doctor’s this morning to be told he’s still not well enough to go back to work (this was no great surprise to me, but I think hubby was expecting a different outcome). That’s now quite a number of week’s hubby’s been off work and to me he’s still not much better than he was when he was first off…this is gonna be a tough day…

Early afternoon and it’s time to head over to Mum and Dad’s to take Dad to the care home where he will stay for the next week to give my Mum a break from caring for him.

When I get over there, Mum tells me she’s explained to Dad countless times where he’s going and why, although he really hasn’t understood. Although at one point he did apparently say he didn’t want to go, and wished the week was over so he could come back home again…hearbreaking.

In the car on the way to the care home, Mum and me were explaining to Dad again where we were going and why, but he just kept saying he hadn’t a clue where he was or what was going on. Then he suddenly burst into tears…heartbreaking.

Mum was struggling, I could see that, but what could I say or do other than try and reassure her that Dad would be ok and that the folks at the care home would take good care of him. After all the care home Dad is going into is the same one my Aunt Mae lives in these days, so we know it’s nice, we know the staff are great and they know us well too because we’ve been visiting Aunt Mae regularly ever since she first went into the care home.

The staff at the care home were as usual marvellous and kept reassuring Mum that Dad would be ok, and that she should take full advantage of her week’s break from caring for Dad.

While we were at the care home we all went to visit Aunt Mae. She didn’t seem too happy today, so that was upsetting, again particularly for Mum as she was already finding today tough. So after visiting Aunt Mae, we took Dad back down to where he is going to be staying for the week, again explaining to him what was going on, but again he was unable to understand. Then came the toughest time…the time to leave Dad…

It was dinner time for the folks in the care home, so we took Dad to the dining room, and got one of the carers to take him to a seat…he didn’t understand why Mum wasn’t going to sit down with him in “the restaurant”…heartbreaking.

Mum wasn’t too bad, she found it tough leaving Dad, however I had expected her to get all upset but she coped better than I had expected.

Spent some time with Mum after we left the care home, and she seemed to be looking forward to her “week of freedom”, though she did keep saying “I wonder how Dad’s getting on”. Despite Mum telling me today not to worry about her and that I didn’t need to spend my whole week off with her, I intend to spend at least some time with her every day this week, just to reassure me if nothing else, that she’s ok.

Today’s been a tough old day, an emotional day – a day I’m happy for Mum’s sake has arrived, but on the other hand, I’m sad for Dad that it’s come to this, him having to go into a care home.

So many emotions for us all. It’s been a tough day all round.