Dementia Carer Voices would like to welcome our latest Viewpoint blog post from Kim Pennock, a fellow blogger, dementia awareness campaigner and voluntary ambassador involved in creating dementia friendly communities. It’s our privilege to share Kim and her mum’s story.
A Carers Emotional Roller Coaster
So many mixed emotions have reared their ugly head over this last 4 years. As a Carer to mum, albeit part time, I have experienced feelings of sheer joy mixed with immediate terror over how much my mum has been affected by this dreadful destroyer of human nature!
At first I began with short visits, not much more than our usual trips to mums. Mainly out for a cuppa or a walk and a chat. This became our chance to talk or my chance to try to understand what mum was experiencing. Total denial from mum and all around us that anything was wrong other than the general ageing process… At this point mum was just a sprightly young 74. Following many GP visits and hospital scans etc and an awful lot of phone calls and panic on my behalf if I am honest, we realised this Dementia was progressing faster than I understood it would. I researched the best I could, it’s my way of learning, but still no proper diagnosis so what do I research…Dementia? Alzheimer’s? Nobody would commit for almost 2 years! It took a rather tearful phone call to mums GP and then a visit on my own to thrash out what exactly had mum got and what do we do now?
I turned to social media, seemed the likeliest place to find and answer, and sure enough there was my now pal Thomas Whitelaw tweeting and posting about his own wee mum and his own dreadful experiences and the lonely lack of support.
I can’t thank Tommy enough and the many others who offered me support advice and just a listening ear or a cheerful picture each day.
Over a year ago I became mums secondary Carer twice a week to try and relieve the pressure, stress and upset mum and her partner were going through which was creating endless issues and many wanderings by Mum.
I have lost count of the times we have had a call to say mums gone missing again and the police are out looking for her. I can’t describe in words how that actually feels other than to say it strikes at your heart and tears it in two as you imagine all sorts of horrible scenarios whilst you sit helpless by the phone waiting to hear she is safe again.
Mum was taken into care on Monday for her own safety and I and my partner and my siblings have been looking for a permanent care home for mum to enjoy her days in.
I personally trekked up and then down the country in a 200 mile trip just this week to view 4 very different care homes.
What have I learnt? Well some are shabby to say the least but the care staff are incredibly focused and person centred care is their motto, others are down right clinical and empty feeling with nice enough staff but some seemed uninterested and too busy to chat to the people in their care.
So once again my emotions are at a height as I try to cope with doing what’s right, as a family, for our beautiful mum, and wishing I was in a better financial position to just take care of mum myself!
To anyone out there who reads this and who lives with Dementia or who cares for a loved one I would say this…nobody can prepare you for what’s to come, nobody can help you understand the emotions you will go through, ask many questions and don’t take the answers as gospel if you don’t understand keep asking!
Everyone is different that’s human nature for you so clearly everyone living with Dementia will go through it in different ways.
There is help out there but you will have to look for it, although we are now fortunate to have much more media interest and thankfully many like Thomas Whitelaw and Norman McNamara who have dragged Dementia into this century!
A carers emotional roller coaster Via @KimSea2shore – A daughter & a Friend
As a voluntary ambassador I am encouraging local businesses to become more Dementia aware and in doing so helping to create dementia friendly community’s. As a freelance researcher I take commissions for family history projects from basic trees to pretty gifts for a loved one. Memory books are also a possibility for aiding loved ones with memory impairment.