Having read through a few threads, I can see that many of you are dealing with far more complex issues than I have questions about - we are still at the earlyish stages of this path, but I desperately want to get some support in place now so that when things get harder we're not starting from scratch.
My mum and dad live together - she is 70 and he is 78 and has Alzheimers. Not sure exactly when he was formally diagnosed but he's been showing signs of cognitive impairment for some years. I live a couple of hours drive away, and my brother (who is in total denial that there is a problem) lives in south east Asia. It's not that I don't want to help, but living at distance is not ideal, and there is the added complication of my own emotions as I see my Dad becoming more unwell, which clouds my ability to be helpful. My parents are lucky to have many good, long standing friends, but their friends are as equally old as they are and dealing with their own health challenges.
My dad is still independent with his personal care and my mum has always looked after household chores and meals etc, so they do not require social care intervention. The difficulty is with the practical and emotional side of things, and with my mum's transition to becoming a carer.
I'm trying to find ways which I can get my mum some support - and in a way she will accept. I don't think she yet identifies as a carer, and attending dementia specific groups would totally depress my dad and lead to more problems, so I'm a bit lost as to what to suggest.
It feels like she needs someone she can chat to who is completely non-judgmental and understands what she needs, and who would be able to fill the gap my dad is leaving in terms of practical coordination of their daily lives e.g. driving her to and from her own hospital appointments. I feel I am describing something like a "professional friend" - someone who understands what she's going through and can provide adaptable support, but who can remain emotionally detached. Someone who can help her through this transition into becoming a carer. Most support seems to be for people who are much further along the journey. I just don't know what to suggest to her which can help. Ironically, I used to be a social worker and wrote my dissertation on 'older spousal caring relationships' so you'd think I ought to be able to know what to do!
Does anyone have any suggestions which I could follow up? Thank you for taking the time to read this - I know it's long and if you've reached this far down then I'm very grateful to you.