Being there

Brucie

Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
12,413
near London
One of the weights we bear is our responsibility as carers for people who are often either incapable of communicating at the most basic level, or of managing to help themselves.

Even the best of care homes cannot have the personal knowledge we have of our loved ones.

When I arrived to see Jan today, she was on her side in the padded room, as usual. However, after a very few minutes I realised that she wasn't making even the normal sorts of noise she makes when attempting to communicate.

Looking at her, I could see that she looked a bit under par, and more particularly that her tongue looked strange, as if there was no tip to it. Then I saw she was having some trouble in taking in air. Nothing critical, just uncomfortable.

I called for the duty nurse, who was quickly followed by the home manager - when one visits regularly, they know there must be something wrong if a relative observes something they may have missed.

Both agreed that Jan's mouth was very dry and that her tongue was swollen. A call was put out for the duty doctor.

Meanwhile, they took a swab from Jan's mouth [difficult because anything one puts in there is assumed to be food and she clamped her jaw upon it!], then used a liquid to moisten her mouth. I then fed her some strawberry "Enlive", and she started to move her tongue more normally.

Point of this little story is that our knowledge is unique. Often it is thought that a carer is no longer a carer when the one being cared for enters a care home [Wow! lots of care in that sentence!]

Not so, of course, and the lot of our loved ones can be made easier by our maintaining a caring role by regular visits. Also the fact that we are not so tired through doing the caring ourselves means that we are that much more alert to spot problems - that someone who has been on shift for 8 hours may miss.

All the time I was there today I spent administering to this one problem, but it was time well spent!
 

Sheila

Registered User
Oct 23, 2003
2,259
West Sussex
Dear Brucie, hope things are soon OK again for your Jan. What a good job you arrived when you did to alert the staff. Norm, very well put! Lotsaluv, She. XX
 

daughter

Registered User
Mar 16, 2005
824
"Often it is thought that a carer is no longer a carer when the one being cared for enters a care home [Wow! lots of care in that sentence!]

Not so, of course, and the lot of our loved ones can be made easier by our maintaining a caring role by regular visits."


Bruce, I agree very much. Dad and Mum are still a very huge part of of each other's lives. But the fact that Dad is in a Home means that they both benefit. Dad has my Mum looking out for him, in the way you describe, and has medical care on hand, while Mum gets some important rest to enable her to give more of herself during the visits. A year ago, I would never have said that - I imagined that "putting someone in a Home" (to quote the phrase that can strike terror) would be the worst thing imaginable.
 

Brucie

Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
12,413
near London
A year ago, I would never have said that - I imagined that "putting someone in a Home" (to quote the phrase that can strike terror) would be the worst thing imaginable.
Well said, and I feel the same way.

That's why I post a fair amount about Jan's home, really, to try and get the message out that care homes can be very good, and the best place for people at a certain stage.

Most people not in the dementia loop tend to think that to 'put' a relative in a care home is to dump them, wash your hands of them.

The terminology is not correct. The person simply 'moves house', and from then on their new home is the care home, so - as one would normally - we visit them at home.

The complication, and a painful one at that, is that the moving of house is not something they have probably chosen to do. We are doing it for them by proxy, but with their safety and best interests in mind.

Were it anything other than dementia, there would be other choices.