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Counseller / Emotional support for my Mom (carer).

Discussion in 'Middle - later stages of dementia' started by CMD, Feb 17, 2017.

  1. CMD

    CMD Registered User

    Nov 28, 2014

    After a bit of advice.

    My Dad has Alzheimer's and Frontotemporal dementia and my mom is his main carer.

    He's in the middle stages and is now regularly demonstrating strange behaviour - new things all of the time. EG making a cup of tea incorrectly / putting his coat on several times a day in the house / forgetting names of close ones. He's spends most of his time confused and is unaware of things that happen around him.

    This is having a profound effect on my mom. She is becoming quiet and withdrawn and every time something new happens, she get's upset about it - sometimes for days.

    When this happens, she tells me she's having a few days where there's a black cloud over her. But at the same time, she also tells me that she's coping fine and that she will be ok again in a day or so....but she isn't. In actual fact she's been down for a while now even though she doesn't see it.

    I'm thinking whether some kind of counselling for dementia carers would help. It might help her approach / response to things so that every time something happens, she doesn't react or perceive it to be huge and therefore doesn't get as affected / upset.

    Does anyone know of any way of finding / contacting such a counsellor? I'm based in the West Midlands.

    Hope there's some ideas out there......
  2. Angie1996

    Angie1996 Registered User

    May 15, 2016
    others will post, but I found this alzheimer's society amazing when I rang them, gave me a lot of reassurance.

    Also in my area we have whats called compass carers, they also offered on phone support etc.

    There are many avenues out there, and other more experienced posters will give you more ideas.

    And also this forum is amazing!!

    Good luck x
  3. HillyBilly

    HillyBilly Registered User

    Dec 21, 2015
    As Angie has advised, the Alzheimer's Society is probably your first port of call.

    Does your Mum have any help in looking after your Dad? Is she able to take any meaningful breaks so that she can have some time for herself? Someone with whom to share the load (or more than one person) might be just as beneficial as counselling. She's probably exhausted. Is your Mum getting sleep or does she have disturbed night?

    MERENAME Registered User

    Jun 4, 2013
    I am seeing an NHS psychologist at the moment. The referral was made through the diabetic clinic, so really that's a GP referral. I react to stress by going off food so it was potentially about an eating disorder but has turned out to be around how to cope with caring. I am finding it very helpful and the quality of the NHS staff very good but it took 9 months to be seen. Referrals are prioritised and I was non urgent. I believe a lot of carers would benefit from counselling as caring for a PWD, and I have had to deal with 2, is potentially very damaging for the carer even if they have basically good mental health.
  5. cragmaid

    cragmaid Registered User

    Oct 18, 2010
    North East England
    It might be that Mum is in need of a short spell taking some light anti depressants too......... l'm not usually one for pushing the pills, but sometimes they do actually help and given how few counsellors there are with experience of coping, it might be a while before Mum gets this sort of help, perhaps she should talk to her GP.
    It is important that she keeps up her own social life/hobbies.... lord knows I failed on this score, even finding time for a haircut was a full scale effort. Did she have a circle of close friends before? Does she still see them or find excuses? Try to push her gently out of her comfort zone every now and then..... the world out there gets a lot further away very quickly. Don't let her find reasons to not do things, if she needs to go out shopping, can you sit with Dad..... or better still ,can you get someone to sit with Dad and you go with Mum?

    In the mean time, just keep doing what you can and talk to her as often as possible.x
  6. CMD

    CMD Registered User

    Nov 28, 2014
    #6 CMD, Feb 17, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2017
    My mom has most of the day on a Thursday to herself as my Dad goes to a day centre, but outside of this, mom's VERY insistent on doing something with my Dad as much as possible.......to use one of her phrases "whilst she has time".

    I've offered to help her by having dad over so she can go out for a meal with my wife but she's not really interested.

    I've suggested that my dad goes to his day centre an extra day per week but again this is not currently recognised as a requirement by mom.

    But at the same time she is not recognising how her mood is lower and her approach to some situations could be changed to make it easier for both of them.
  7. jaymor

    jaymor Volunteer Moderator

    Jul 14, 2006
    My husband was diagnosed at 62 and our world fell apart. The retirement we looked forward to just disappeared. I cared for him for 7 years and it was far from easy and I was consumed by sadness. I know I was observed as being depressed but it was not depression it was deep, deep sadness for my husband, who had to live with this dreadful disease and for me, seeing my husband change before my eyes.

    Perhaps your Mum is deeply sad, finds it hard to smile because sometimes you feel that no matter what you do, you know you cannot make that person better. No one can and that can bring you down. Life has changed and it's a change that no one wants.

    Support your Mum as best you can and be lead by what she wants and keep your eye on her. Hopefully when she is ready she will accept the help available to make things move forward more comfortably for your Dad and herself.
  8. AlsoConfused

    AlsoConfused Registered User

    Sep 17, 2010
    Many GP surgeries include in their range of patient services free counselling by a qualified counsellor. Counsellors can't change the situation but they support the person who's trying to cope with it - and they can often help carers adopt different, more productive, less personally painful ways of coping. Suggest to your Mum that she tries any help that is available - if it isn't useful she can step out of it the moment she feels like doing so.
  9. mab

    mab Registered User

    Mar 6, 2010
    CMD.... How I empathise with your mother.
    I'm in the same place.. caring for someone who is rapidly disappearing. Only yesterday our beloved granddaughter was relegated to being his niece!
    Like your mother, my dark clouds descend regularly!
    Support is so very necessary and here on TP it is amazingly comforting.
    But if you have access to counselling as well, then do go for it. Go for whatever helps. I have supportive children and amazing friends, but I find talking freely to a counsellor helps me so very much... (especially if you find the right one!) And gives them a bit of relief too!
    Remember this is a long term problem and there are no short term solutions.
    Your mother has a loving heart and wishes to look after her husband as far as possible, but she also needs her own space and time. Care for the carer!
  10. CMD

    CMD Registered User

    Nov 28, 2014
    Where did you find your counsellor?
  11. CMD

    CMD Registered User

    Nov 28, 2014
    Thanks everyone for their replies so far.
  12. mab

    mab Registered User

    Mar 6, 2010
    Was referred some years ago when hubby's dementia first started and managed to get back to her recently when everything escalated. If you can avoid the long NHS waiting list, check web sites of medical insurance companies as they only recommend the tried and tested counsellors.
    Hope this helps.

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