just been in to see dad (he has a form of dementia called Picks Disease, and is 85) with mum (she's 84)
He has been in a care home for 8 weeks, from an initial 6 week respite stay that became a permanent placement. Up until now, when we have been in to see him he has been sitting quietly in his chair - sometimes responsive, sometimes not - but usually just sitting quietly watching TV or having a cup of tea. I have really seen none of the problems that mum coped with over the past 5 years - she shared very little of it with any of us and suffered a breakdown a few weekends ago. Following this she has opened up more and told me a lot more of what it had been like caring for him at home - how she coped for so long I've simply no idea.
Anyway, I'm going on and on as usual - what I was going to say is that today I saw just a tiny slice of what drove mum to such a desperate stage - when we got in he'd urinated in his chair - it was all down his legs, in his slippers - everywhere. We called a care assistant who very quickly and sympathetically changed him and cleaned his chair and carpet, and popped his clothes in the wash. He was very restless today and kept getting up and trying to walk back and forth to his chest of drawers and back - he couldn't tell us what he wanted .... I don't think he knew. He used to obsess about the handles on the cupboards at home all facing the same way and he seemed bothered by the fact that the drawers didn't line up. He can't walk at all without assistance but forgets that he can't - so he falls a lot.
I'm really only writing this for myself although I will show it to mum - I just want her to know what an extraordinary job she did in caring for him at home for SO long (too long?) and that it does confirm that he is in the right place - where he can readily get attention and is cared for.
It really, really upset me although I've been at home before when he's had 'accidents' but it really hit home today. dad is completely unfazed by it, because as soon as its happened - to him its forgotten.
Its that horrible 'I know we've done the right thing but its still awful' feeling. I think what I'm trying to say to carers is please not to try and 'cover' for your loved ones, although our instincts are always to protect them ....
To anyone who read this far - thank you for enduring my ramblings!