1. Expert Q&A: Living well as a carer - Thurs 29 August, 3-4pm

    As a carer for a person living with dementia, the needs of the person you care for will often come before your own. You may experience a range of difficult emotions and you may not have the time to do all the things you need to do. Caring can have a big impact on both your mental and physical health, as well as your overall wellbeing.

    Angelo, our Knowledge Officer (Wellbeing) is our expert on this topic. He will be here to answer your questions on Thursday 29 August between 3-4pm.

    You can either post questions >here< or email them to us at talkingpoint@alzheimers.org.uk and we'll answer as many as we can on the day.

  1. doodle1

    doodle1 Registered User

    May 11, 2012
    241
    JM just sent you a pm I hope
     
  2. Ann Mac

    Ann Mac Registered User

    Oct 17, 2013
    3,701
    Good Morning everyone,

    So much for my promise to get on here more frequently - manic in work, bad fibro flares, and a return of the chest infection thats kept me away from Mil, are my excuses - I'm so sorry. There just don't seem to be enough hours in the day at the moment :(

    JM, congratulations to your daughter on getting an offer from Camebridge - that's brilliant :) Given how many other interests she has though, I can totally understand why she wants to look at other places though, especially with the cycling.

    I think you are right, once you have cared for someone with dementia, you do become very proficient at spotting the signs in others. I'm with you, where your Mil is concerned, I'd want to avert a crisis at all costs. At the same time, given the difficult relationship your OH has with his Mum, I can also see why he doesn't want to deal with it too. A horribly tricky situation for you all xxxx

    Amy, I'm so sorry to hear about your little cat. So hard when we lose members of our furry family. Busta Dog here is in his 17th year. His sight and hearing are poor, he can only manage comparitvely short walks now - but he still wants to go on those walks. He still fetches toys for us to play with him (albeit for very short spells now), eats well and though now and again, he limps, he seems amazingly healthy for his age. But we know its not going to be for very much longer, and I can hardly bear to think of it - over 16 years of having him as a very big part of our family, I just don't know how I will cope when we lose him :( I still wouldn't trade one minute of those years though - even to spare us all the heartache xxx

    Slugsta, I've got myself a bit upset, thinking of losing our Busta, so I will read the poem later - when I'm not as likely to bawl like a baby! xxxx

    Spamar - I really hope you are feeling better now, hun. Not the best of starts to the year for you, health-wise {{{{{{{{hugs}}}}}}}}

    Not sure where to start to catch you all up! Being as we have been talking pets, I guess saying that there are continuing issues with my lovely new granddog Oscar, is as good a place as any. Oscar continues to be extremely distructive, and its causing a lot of problems. At Christmas, he went with sons GF to her parents, where amongst other things, he managed to eat a coat belonging to the GF's Mum. He seemed very settled there, gets on brilliantly with her parents doggy, and is as long as the GF is with him - he is very much 'her' doggy - is an obviously happy dog. But still the destruction. He has recently learnt how to open doors, meaning that restricting him to one room overnight is no longer possible - though they are now fitting catches to try and stop him. He has chewed door frames (a big bill for son and GF to put right the damage is pending), ate remote controls, plugs, shoes, cushions, several dog beds, destroyed 2 crates, chewed the legs on the dining room table and chairs and too many other items to list have also been wrecked. They have spent a fortune on trying to 'Oscar-proof' the house, on buying various gizmos and items to stop him and on a 1-1 dog trainer. The current plan is to send him to a 'dog sitter' when son's and GF's work hours overlap (sons shifts mean its rare for the doggys to be left for more than 3 or 4 hours, thankfully ). Again, this is a big expense - and it doesn't solve the problem with damage Oscar causes overnight. I don't know what the answer is - I just know that there is no way that the GF in particular will part with him.

    The chest infection/lurgy that I picked up before Christmas has continued to come and go - not badly ill, but along with the current spate of fibro flares, it's impacted on me sleeping even more than usual, so getting through most days is like wading through treacle. This week is the first week where it actually really seems to be gone for good - thank goodness. Now I just need the fibro to calm down!

    Work - again that word 'manic' - the garden scheme has progressed to work actually starting - ground clearance nearly complete, tree work was finished last week. A lot of unexpected costs popping up, so fundraising added to the workload, along with endless meetings to deal with various little issues that keep appearing. Added to which, I've got one project (thankfully nearly over) where there have been major issues with behaviour and an ineffective teacher, and the continued pressure to meet new targets (increased by over 30% from whe I started this job). I'm one of many job hunting - don't want to, love so much about this job, but I am shattered, really struggling to keep to my hours, and sick of stressing on my time off because I know I am not keeping on top of the admin. I know from many fellow workmates that I'm not alone in this situation, which helps, but I work work to live, not live to work, so I'm reluctantly searching for another role.

    We also have a 10 day holiday booked, at the beginning of April - off to Fuerteventura for our wedding aniversary (27th, this year!) - and we can't wait! Just 70 days to go (not that I'm counting or anything :D )

    And Mil - I have only visited once since Christmas, because of not being well. And that once was yesterday. OH has been going once or twice a week , though - and really, little has changed. OH did say, the week before last, after a visit, that he thought she was getting less violent - but then on his next visit, she scratched, smacked and thumped him and was really abusive and aggressive, so its obviously just a case of he'd been lucky she had been in a good mood on the previous few visits! Yesterday, I spent an hour with her - and it was nice to spend some time with her again, I felt better for seeing her 'properly', IYKWIM. She was in her room - so am assuming there had been some issues in the main lounge which had necessitated her being in 'time out' - though she was pretty chilled out whilst I was there. Cuddling the doll (the from the home) the whole time. Apparently, its her niece 'Mary' (or at least it was yesterday) and she hugged it and kept kissing it all the time. She said her brother let her babysit because she is 15 now! . The soft doll we got her has been rejected - it doesn't look realistic enough, I guess because it hasn't got a molded plastic face to make it look quite as life-like as 'Mary' does? Which still leaves us with the problem of her suddenly turning and clouting staff (and us) with 'Mary' - and that hard plastic face really hurts when she uses it to hit out. Finding a lifelike doll that can't double up as an offensive weapon definitely isn't easy! Much to my annoyance, the black and white toy collie dog was nowhere to be seen - and even more annoying, the 3 staff I spoke to about it had no idea what I was talking about. Again, I asked for it to be found - we'll see what happens. She seemd to like it so much, and it might just make for a handy substitue for Mary, when she is feeling violent - less painful to be hit with the soft doggy than the doll.

    She had no idea who I was, despite greeting me quite warmly. She called me 'Miss' throughout the visit - that's a new thing. No counting, only a few shouts of 'help' - but still the exaggerated face pulling and OTT cries of 'Ohhhhhhhhh', pulling tongues and generally playing for an audience. Her legs were twitching and writhing quite a bit, but she was able to stay in the chair. Mouth movements were also quite bad, I wasn't able to make out everything she said. She was watching 'Chitty, chitty Bang Bang', and I noticed she was really revelling in unpleasant things happening in the film - very odd! People falling over, a man shooting, the 'Duke' threatening to execute someone - Mil repeated what was happening each time, roaring with laughter, telling me it was 'so funny'.

    It started snowing while I was there, and I pointed it out to her - 'Thats funny' she said 'it wasn't snowing when I went swimming in the river this morning'! A little later she was gazing at the snow coming down through her window, then several times turned to look at her open bedroom door. Finally she pointed at the window and said 'Isn't that strange - its snowing out there, but (turning to point at the open door leading to the corridor)Its not snowing out there!'

    I stayed an hour, and got a bit of agitation from her when I was leaving - she asked wasn't I taking her with me, but thankfully, was easily distracted.

    I didn't tell her - obviously - that we had had some sad news on Wednesday. Her last brother has passed away, aged 83. Its been a horrible year for that branch of the family, with 3 of her nephews dying (two from cancer, 1 from heart problems) and now their Dad gone. Mil is unaware of any of this, of course - and whilst I'm glad she is spared the grief, there is a bit of me that finds it so sad that she can't be there and share the loss with the rest of the family.

    Right - need to get sorted, as its my turn to do the theatre school run and get youngest and the rest of her diva friends to class today. Then its a lazy day planned. I worked last weekend (overseeigng garden work that couldn't be carried out whilst the students were there) so have taken the time back this week, and have been off since Wednesday afternoon. Which has meant that several admin jobs landed on me at the beginning of the week have not been done - and I know I am going to get flak for that on Monday. However, the break has done me good, and I earned it, so tough :D

    Take care everyone, and much love to you all xxxxxxx
     
  3. Spamar

    Spamar Registered User

    Oct 5, 2013
    6,925
    Suffolk
    Ann, so nice to see you!
    I know the job has bee troublesome, but it must be a lot worse when you feel you have to leave! If several of you leave at the same time, I guess management might get the message,, at last!

    Mil seems to be hanging in well, even if it is troubling for the family,

    Sorry to hear about Oscars destructive tendencies, I’ve never had a dog where this has been a huge problem, so have no idea what the answer is! I’m sure someone will have some ideas!

    I had a better day yesterday, mainly cos I went out for lunch with two close friends! Always a refresher!

    Hope things go well for you and family!
     
  4. CeliaW

    CeliaW Registered User

    Jan 29, 2009
    5,654
    Hampshire
    Good to see you Ann.

    Just a thought re the overnight Oscar problems - sleeping in a dog crate? I have several friends with dogs who use them at night mainly. Including one who has rescue greyhounds and so not had from puppies.

    https://www.ccspca.com/blog-spca/education/crate-training/


    Take care and have a restful weekend xx
     
  5. Slugsta

    Slugsta Registered User

    Thank you for the update Ann. I'm sorry that you are still in so much pain - and that work is not getting any better. It is such a shame when loyal, hardworking people are driven out by unreasonable demands :(

    The idea of getting Oscar sleeping in a crate is a good one. He would need to be introduced to it gradually, maybe starting off by feeding him in the open crate so that he sees it as a good place to be.

    I'm glad that MIL continues to be in reasonably good form and hope collie doggie can be located.
     
  6. Ann Mac

    Ann Mac Registered User

    Oct 17, 2013
    3,701
    Morning all,

    (See - I am determined to get here more often!)

    Glad you enjoyed your lunch out, Spamar :) Don't often get the chance, but my best friend and I like sneaking off to be 'ladies wot lunch' every now and again - its such a lovely treat :)

    I'm afraid crating for Oscar has been tried - and failed miserably, Celia and Slugsta. Son and GF were told he had been used to being crated, for short periods and overnight, but had recently been OK out of the crate at night time. When - after just a week or so - it was clear that the chewing wasn't just a reaction to yet another new home and wasn't getting any better, they introduced a crate again, got him used to it and then tried crating him at night. First crate lasted less than a week, before he managed to destroy it - chewing at and bending and twisting the door till it broke and he got it open. A more robust crate lasted just over a week :( Son swears Oscar can chew through metal! I honestly don't know what they are going to do - we had this issue with Busta, when we first had hm - but it wasn't on the scale of Oscar, more Busta chewing things like books, shoes and anything he could nick from the laundry basket. Easy enough to make sure he couldn't get at that sort of thing - a little harder to keep furniture out of Oscars reach! We had a spray bottle of water and any time we saw Busta chewing something he shouldn't, a quick blast of water and a loud 'NO'. When he stopped chewing the article he couldn't have, we would replace it with a toy he could chew at, telling him 'This is yours' - he stopped the chewing within a couple of weeks, and we have never had a problem since. Oscar now only chews when he is left alone - so up to 4 hours in the day at most, and overnight. They paid a small fortune for a trainer (which resulted in him stopping chewing in front of them), and have even invested in a doggy cam, which they can watch on their phones, whilst at work - only son can't take his phone actually into work, can ony check it at breaks and obviously GF can only check it occasionally too - added to which, although they can 'talk' to Oscar through the camera app, he takes absolutely no notice! They have tried the 'stop chewing sprays', he is well supplied with the very robust dog chews, including the ones you fill with doggy treats, and large rawhide bones. They are now at the stage where they have 'Oscar proofed' their dining room and restrict him (and Jessie, who is as good as gold) to there if they have to go out or at night - the dining table and chair legs are now well chewed, and he has started on the door frame leading to the kitchen! And as I said, he has now worked out how to open the door to the kitchen - a particular worry because he has a thing about plugs and wires, so they have to make sure that anything like that is out of his way too - he has destroyed several phone charges, and the charger for the blade hoover! Imagine what he would try to get at in the kitchen! I honestly don't know what next - they are looking for another trainer, considering dog sitting for when they are at work (an expense they could do without) but obviously, that won't help with night time problems. They really don't want him sleeping in their room overnight - because if Oscar goes up, Jessie would have to go too, and basically they feel they would get little sleep!

    Giving up on Oscar is not an option that they would consider, btw - he is adorable, to be fair, in most other aspects, and I can't say that I would give up on a doggy that I'd taken on either, so I understand that. But how they solve this issue, I don't know.

    I'm sad about looking for another job too :( But, I think the targets are just going to go up and up, along with the additional admin, the management won't budge and those of us who have tried to reach a compromise with them have now been faced with the response along the lines of 'No time to reach targets, but time to complain about them?' and even in some instances, the suggestion that if we don't like it, maybe we should be looking for another line of work? Bullying, of course, we are leaving that one in the capable hands of the staff association, but its clear that trying to reach a compromise or get them to be (we feel) more reasonable isn't going to happen. Last week, there were two reports I was asked for, in addition to my usual work, that I simply ran out of time to do - I'm expecting flak for it, even to be told that I shouldn't have taken the time owing to me (nearly 10 hours of it from the previous week) when I had 'urgent' work to do - and I'll probably get told that it 'wouldnt have taken long' to do the reports. And when I point out that I'd worked my hours, that I'm paid for just 28 hours, I'll get comments about how the reports were 'important' and 'just on this occasion', as if I am being unreasonable - but every week there are 'important' reports or responses added to the usual work, and I have to draw the line somewhere. The biggest issue for me at the moment is finding the time to go job hunting! The fibro is bad enough that by the time I've done my hours, and the basics at home, I'm struggling to find the energy or be pain free enough to spend time sat at the pc or laptop to look for and fill in applications!

    A housework day today - hopefully won't take long, but the last 3 days off work have let the fibro settle a lot, so I intend to make hay while the sun shines and get some jobs that have been bugging me sorted :) The downstairs makeover is nearly finished, and the new layout is much easier to keep on top of, we did a LOT of de-cluttering. All thats left to do is to paint the non-feature walls in the lounge a pale dove grey, and for me to decide on the new curtains - I think a darker grey, to match some of the new scatter cushions is going to work, there are 3 sets of curtains I like the look of - I just have to make the final choice and order them. It's taken ages to finally get everything sorted - but boy, does it look a lot better, and its so much easier to keep tidy. We need to put new worktops in the kitchen - though probably not for a couple of months - and then we can start on upstairs! After my 3 years in uni, and the 3 years spent with Mil here, the whole house has been very neglected in terms of decor and clutter building up. Its lovely to finally get stuck in and sort it all!

    Hope you all enjoy whats left of the weekend, much love to all of you
     
  7. Slugsta

    Slugsta Registered User

    Afternoon all,

    Ann, I'm glad that you are managing to get the house as you want it. With your eye for colour and form, I bet it will look lovely :)

    Sorry that things have got so bad with work, the attitude of management sounds completely out of order :mad: I think many other people would have given up before now, so all credit to you for sticking it - but you really do need to put your own well-being at the top of the list for a change. If that manes taking some sick leave, so be it . . .

    Sorry that the situation with Oscar is so bad - but very glad that your son is not going to give up on him, poor chap!

    We went out to the 'New Forest Wildlife Centre' today. It was worth a visit but I'm glad we got in at a reduced price (due to my blue badge) as many of the animals were either resting out of sight, hibernating or out of view in their winter quarters. I wouldn't have been happy to have paid full price :( Nonetheless, we saw some of the otters, lots of owls and got a great view of a lynx trying to get at its food (which had been hung up off a tree) :) It was chilly but I was well wrapped up, so not too bad.
     
  8. Spamar

    Spamar Registered User

    Oct 5, 2013
    6,925
    Suffolk
    I’m sure you will be pleased to know that today has been the first day without a headache for the last two weeks!
     
  9. Slugsta

    Slugsta Registered User


    Hurrah!! :)
     
  10. Ann Mac

    Ann Mac Registered User

    Oct 17, 2013
    3,701
    I'm so glad, Spamar! About time you got a break from not feeling well, hun xxxx

    I love wildlife centres, Slugsta - and zoo's, and anything to do with animals and nature in general. It is disappointing when you go and see very few animals though - one of the benfits I used to appreciate about having an annual pass to the zoo here was when I could go as often as I wanted, it didn't matter if there was the odd day I saw very little. I didn't renew the pass this year, as last year we only managed very few visits - enough to make the pass worthwhile, but given I seem to be even busier than usual at the moment, I decided to leave it this year. I may change my mind when the weather improves though, lol.

    We are forecast a fair bit of snow over the next week - though the severity changes depending on what source you check with! Today's planned visit to a National Trust Property with one of my groups has already been cancelled, partly on a 'just in case' basis, because most of the weather sites agree that we will be getting a fairly decent amount of snow by this afternoon. In the colleges I am currently working with, a lot of the students come in from very rural areas and the colleges take no chances - first sign that snow is starting to get heavy, and the students are sent home! Yesterday, I honestly thought that the day's volunteering I'd organised at a conservation site was likely to be cancelled, but the snow held off and I spent the day with a lively bunch who were taught how to 'coppice' tree's - and they were fab! Despite the cold, not a moan or complaint, they got stuck in and did some fabulous work, a real help to the charity who run the site. It was a really good day, one that reminds me how much I love about this job. The only downside was that whilst I didn't help with any heavy work, it was a fair hike over rough and hilly ground to the area we worked on, and I paid the price by the evening and during the night. Its as well the long day out today has been cancelled (replaced by classroom sessions) because I'm cruising on about 3 hours sleep at the moment.

    OH went to see Mil last night on his way home from work - same old, same old, he said - 'feisty', 'loud', wasn't sure who he was :( She seems to be pretty level at the moment, no big changes, no big health issues. The staff remain convinced that she is 100% better for having the 1-1 support, that its still very necessary - the staff are very adept now at heading off outbursts and getting her away from situations where she is likely to blow - and deflecting attacks when she hits out. But if they weren't there, it would be a very different story. She often tries to get herself up, but her ability to walk does vary by the day, so someone has to be on hand to stop her - and of course, the TD can kick in at any time and she would end up on the floor if no-one was there. All remains incredibly quiet from the HBM - no visits (that I've been told of), no charts to be kept, not sure if weekly reports are still going in. I've started to relax around that whole situation - and not sure if that's a wise thing to do. There have been a lot of staff changes lately, home manager has left, a couple of the long term staff have gone and between that, and me not visiting as often as I would have liked to over the last 4 or 5 weeks, I do feel a little out of the loop - I need to get myself in gear and go and have a chat with one of the seniors or nurses who are left, just to check that the HBM is behaving!

    Right - time to gear up for the day - first session working with a group in a spoken word workshop, they are looking at awareness raising via a style of poetry that they can (i hope) relate to. Followed by a hastily arranged classroom day with my garden group where we will be creating a pictorial timeline of the work taking place in their garden - trees now down or reduced, ground pretty much cleared, a huge difference already now the work has started.

    Hope you are all OK, love to all xxxxx
     
  11. Spamar

    Spamar Registered User

    Oct 5, 2013
    6,925
    Suffolk
    Snow!
    There was rain here in the night, and it’s about 5 C at the moment. No danger of snow just yet!
    I’m hoping to go to my local friendly cafe this morning, there’s usually a group of about 8. Haven’t been since before Christmas!

    Have a good day, everybody.

    No headache yet!

     
  12. Ann Mac

    Ann Mac Registered User

    Oct 17, 2013
    3,701

    Fingers crossed that the headache stays away Spamar, and you get to enjoy your cafe trip :D

    We had a brief but heavy snowfall on I think Thursday, last week - thankfully followed by rain and sleet, so it didn't stick. Quite a few heavy frosts since then - and this morning the forecasts are saying snow will start at 8am - or 11am - or 2pm, depending on which one you look at, lol. All have released weather warnings, and I would imagine that with or without the snow, there will be some issues with ice this morning - my car is frozen solid - just on my way out to defrost it, before I head off to work!
     
  13. jugglingmum

    jugglingmum Registered User

    Jan 5, 2014
    5,034
    Female
    Chester
    I think your snow was Friday Ann as I got caught in it on the bike.

    We were walking near ullswater at the weekend and light covering of snow above a certain height. Kids managed a little toboggan on a small sled they'd carried up.
     
  14. Spamar

    Spamar Registered User

    Oct 5, 2013
    6,925
    Suffolk
    Ullswater! You’re so lucky, JM, I love the Lakes. Years since I’ve been, though.

    The default to Ullswater came as ill water! Fortunately noticed it!
     
  15. Slugsta

    Slugsta Registered User

    Ann, I'm glad the garden project is going well but sorry that you are in so much pain as a result (((hugs)))

    I'm also glad that the HBM is keeping a low profile - although I understand how uncomfortable that makes you feel too!

    No snow here and little likelihood of any. It is cooler than it has been and rained today (we haven't had much rain for a few weeks).
     
  16. Ann Mac

    Ann Mac Registered User

    Oct 17, 2013
    3,701
    Morning all,

    For the life of me, I couldn't remember if it was Thursday or Friday we had the snow, JM - can't have been nice getting caught in it while cycling!

    Wasn't as bad snow wise, as forecast, yesterday. Just a couple of cm's, as the snow had alternated with sleet and hail. But the black ice was dreadful! Took me about 15 minutes (and a lot of salt and scraping) to get my car off the drive, then another 45 minutes to actually get out of the village I live in! It seems that a rather large 'hole' opened up in the road, at a quite busy junction. It looks like one car got damaged by it, and there was a delay whilst it was moved, then very very slow traffic as the cars in the queue behind tried to get out of the junction, without hitting the 'hole' - as it meant moving onto the wrong side of the road to avoid it, and there was plenty of on-coming traffic, it was a really slow process. Despite leaving extra early, I was 30 minutes late for my session, and had to stay longer to make up the time - so not the best starts to the day!

    Some nice news though - one of my groups has been nominated for a big prize within their college, as a result of the work they have been doing on awareness raising and diversity with me. Really proud of them, and lovely to know that the sessions I've done with them have led to this :)

    I've already logged 24 hours this week, so a short admin day today - lots to do, but after 4 hours - thats it! See how my aches and pains are, hoping to visit Mil once I've finished.

    Have a good day everyone, and if you have the ice or snow, take care!
     
  17. Spamar

    Spamar Registered User

    Oct 5, 2013
    6,925
    Suffolk
    Pleased for you, Ann!

    Frost today, nothing more! I’ve got a visit to dentist later, let’s hope the ice has gone!

    Cheers everyone!
     
  18. Slugsta

    Slugsta Registered User

    Hurrah! for you and your group Ann. It is lovely that their efforts have been recognised :)
     
  19. Spamar

    Spamar Registered User

    Oct 5, 2013
    6,925
    Suffolk
    Today, our first snow! It’s looking very pretty, as the sun is now shining! But starting to melt. I have to go out tomorrow, so hoping there is no more until tomorrow pm!

    Hope everybody is as well as they can be!
     
  20. Slugsta

    Slugsta Registered User

    No snow here, nor is there likely to be any :)

    I woke yesterday morning to find that I have lost my voice, have had to miss choir this week :( The good thing is that I don't feel unwell, so it could be a lot worse.
     

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