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Older carers (and their spouses with dementia)

Ella_Rhubarb

New member
Dec 22, 2021
2
0
Hello everyone,

I've been reading the posts here and it's all really informative and helpful stuff, as well as making one feel less isolated. I'm the daughter of someone who is caring for her husband who has a new diagnosis of dementia.

The lead up to the diagnosis has been terrifying in places for many reasons (driving, orientation, many more of the standard issues I've seen on here) , and now there's a label to put to some of his behaviours, he is in denial about it. The issue is that he's not always been a particularly nice person, and it seems the diagnosis and progression of the disease is bringing that aspect of his personality to the fore (anecdotally, its hard to see where the personality ends and the disease begins, if I'm honest).

My mother is in her mid eighties and has recently had a minor illness which really illustrated how weak their domestic set-up is and how dependent it is on her doing everything to keep the household running. She now admits that she cannot do this anymore. Because of this, I have started the ball rolling in trying to get domestic help and make them known to services (at her request) and investigating types of homecare. He overheard aspects of these phonecalls when she spoke with services and quickly became aggressive towards her.

I'm concerned for her wellbeing, and safety, and we have discussed her options at length. She's not much of a proactive person which is deeply frustrating for me as we seem to lurch from one crisis to the next, rather than having a cohesive plan and I'm sure part of her still is in denial and wishes it wasn't happening. 80something is quite the age to be considering a big life change.

I wonder if anyone else has faced a similar situation where they are concerned for the (elder) primary carer? And if so, if you have deemed it the right time to separate the couple for the wellbeing of that person?

With thanks in advance. Wishing you a peaceful winter holiday.
 
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Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
76,273
0
Kent
Hello @Ella_Rhubarb welcome

Do you think help would be more acceptable if it was presented as help for your mother instead of help for her husband?

I ask because it is how I managed to get my husband to accept help in the house I told him we could have more time together if I had help with housework. The agency carers agreed to light housework and my husband agreed to accept help for me.

It worked well My husband even lifted a fireside rug so the carer could vac underneath it.

After time my husband accepted being left with the carers , having lunch made by them and even personal care.

This was enabled because the manager of the agency spent two hours with me discussing my husbands needs and personality.

Whether that degree of service is still available today remains to be seen but I do think if needs are expressed clearly they are more likely to be met
M
 

Bunpoots

Volunteer Host
Apr 1, 2016
6,394
0
Nottinghamshire
Hello @Ella_Rhubarb . Welcome from me too.

I do remember being very concerned about my dad’s well-being when he was caring for my mum. I was very relieved when he found some lovely carers who were good with mum and helped him look after her. It made it a little easier for me too! So I hope you can get something set up soon for your parents.

I used a similar approach to @Grannie G when getting help for my dad. I also introduced the carer as a friend and this seemed to help. Dad soon got used to her doing the housework and pottering in his garden. It gave him someone to talk to and, as he could no longer drive, she would occasionally take him out to a garden centre which he really enjoyed.

As he accepted his companion it gave me confidence to introduce experienced dementia trained carers for him for personal care when it became necessary. You need to figure out what your dad will find acceptable and stick with that story and make sure the carers do too.
 

Ella_Rhubarb

New member
Dec 22, 2021
2
0
@Bunpoots & @Grannie G thank you both for your welcome and sharing your experiences. From what you've both said, it's comforting to know of the challenges other people have also faced in relation to personality verses condition, are very similar to our own.

It's remarkably difficult to know the best approach when in 'fight or flight' mode with the stress of a new challenge arising every other day. This course of action in proffering home help as help for my Mum, seems like the best one to try. I've shared your posts with my Mum too, and she agrees.

We have a litmus test of her going for a minor procedure in the new year and introducing a structure to provide daily help whilst she recuperates elsewhere yet keeping it going thereafter. Fingers crossed we're have a solution.

Thanks again both, your advice is invaluable. Wishing you a happy winter break.