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Hi Heather, what a lovely post and so well put at what must be a difficult and emotional time for you. I know I will have to go through this with my mum at some stage (as she is in late stages) so by reading your post has helped me already in preparing myself for the future. I think the fact that you would like to volunteer to help others in similar position in the Nursing Home is lovely too and to support other relatives because I feel it is a must as so often I have come away from Mum's nursing home in tears as nobody to speak to about Mum. I agree too it must be so hard for the carers and it is a tough job (just feel sometimes they don't get the recognition they deserve). Take care xxThank you for your wonderful kindness in taking time to respond, your words are so comforting.
The senior carer at the CH said today she felt blessed to be part of the passing of my Mum. i`ve have`nt stopped today to reflect, arrangements to be made phone calls and appointments to be made. I remain calm, until someone shows me a little kindness, nieghbours and family rallying (I`m usually the one to do this I`m a "giver" not a very good "receiver") then Niagra falls starts! I know this is all part of the healing process. As I talked to the carers yesterday I described how the whole experience of caring for someone with dementia is in retrospect a positive one the "long goodbyes", step by step gently a factor of our loved ones disappears a gentle measured goodbyes. She didn`t know who I was, then her speech went, just noises, but she was still smiling then the smiles became so weak you had to be quick to catch them, slowly slowly.I used to sit with Mum hugs and cuddles stroking her back as you comfort a baby, and for the last 2-3 weeks I had to say goodbye to that as she was virtualy bedridden, then just holding a hand that used to grip mine but became lifeless, another goodbye, then the last few days, I holding a non-responsive hand, stroking and a kiss or two to her forehead. I was suprised when a carer who had been around for 18 months said, he had never heard Mum talk, this brings it home. I think you will know what I`m trying to say. Yes, it has been a heartbreaking rollercoaster for both the sufferer and relatives, we don`t see it until we`ve lost our loved ones but in time I think we start to see the positives. I think I would prefer this to a sudden death. I appreciate I have been very lucky as Mum really never lost her happy demeanour throughout, she was affectionate to everyone.
I have not made any commitment as yet, but I think my experience needs to be channelled and I hope, when I`m ready, to return to the home on a voluntary basis, just to sit and chat, hold the hands of the lost souls who don`t have visitors. They may talk nonsence, but to them its not, and just to sit or walk with them is helping them and saying "thank you" to the care home who so lovingly care for all their charges. It is hard for the carers, residents often with them for years, as was pointed out to me, they too were very distressed yesterday, but had to leave Mum`s room with a smile and carry on as usual. It`s a tough job and only the genuine people who care can cope with this.
Thank you all.
I will continue on TP to also channel my experience onto other relatives struggling to come to terms with this dreadful condition.