Its a new year and next month it will have been 12 months since we moved in with mum. It fells longer, and technically it is. Just looked back on WhatsApp and can see messages to the family back in Nov 2015 discussing carelines, key stores for the side of the house and I think we had our first family pow woow. We just spent most of our spare time at mums, rather than actually there.
Looking back it also feels we have come along way as a family in our approach to caring for mum. Its reminds me a bit about the first months of having Ella as a baby. You can only read or be told so much and its not until you get your hands dirty (literally sometimes) that you really understand what needs to be done.
Lessons learnt for anyone else who may find themselves in a similar situation
- Ensure you have the best support around you. If your partner or immediate family are not prepared for the change in circumstances do not try and provide care on your own
- Ensure you get a good care provider to support you. Good = reliable (they contact you if things change), work with you when things aren’t perfect and react to suggestions or requests (less 07:00 wake ups for example – I need my beauty sleep)
- Encourage your parents to get an LPA before things go down hill. You can get it registered and only invoke it when you need it. If you haven’t got one and things go down hill, its too late.
- Try to de-stress all situations if someone has dementia. Asking “why” questions wont give you any help on what actually happened. Just accept the situation in front of you and resolve what ever the issue is
- Try not to get frustrated. Remember (if you have kids) what it was like looking after a baby/toddler who relied on you for everything, cleaning, food, support, caring, bed time, entertainment etc.
- Learn what the normal situation is. Trust your instincts. You probably did the same with your child. You knew when they were not 100% and the same applies to someone with dementia. They don’t necessarily know or recognise that something is wrong.
- One medial condition can look a lot like another. With mum we have seen how her sugar levels, sodium levels or water infection can all affect the way she behaves. Her memory issues are a constant, they become more pronounced when one or more of the other conditions are affecting her.
- Find a good supply of medical/rubber gloves and for the ladies a good supply of hand cream as you will get dry hands
I’m sure there are more but these are the main ones that I can think of right now.
Happy New Year to everyone and lets see what the next 12 months brings us all. Hopefully an easier 2017 now that 2016 is behind us.