A Positive Change in Circumstances (Life after a Carer’s assessment)

It’s good to be back, it’s been so long since I found the time to sit down and update my blog.

In my last post I promised to report back following my ‘Carer’s Assessment’ so apologies it has taken me so long .  It’s almost 10 months since I wrote that post.  So much has happened during that time with my dad’s health and wellbeing, which has been, and still is my main priority.

Carer’s Assessment 

Having a Carer’s assessment was the best thing for me, I found it very relaxed and centred on me and not my dad. . All of my time has been taken up with my dads health, how he was feeling, what he needed and how I could support him.  I never once thought about myself, or how this change in circumstances was impacting on my general health and wellbeing.

My Carer’s assessment was carried out by an experienced social worker

The social worker wanted to know about my work and career, my family, my feelings and above all else she wanted to know how she could support me. . .I realised this was the first time I had talked to anyone about the pressure I had been under, I had kept everything to myself and had just got on with what I needed to do.

To cut a long story short, the outcome was the realisation that I needed support to look after my dad, the social worker made me realise I couldn’t carry on doing this on my own therefore, I agreed for a meeting to take place with my dad to discuss the need for a ‘Care Package’ to be put in place.

Discussing the Care Package with Dad:

A few weeks later, the meeting took place, and I made sure that my dad understood the options available and after much discussion regarding his needs, he agreed to the support that would come from professional Carer’s.  We agreed on a 5 day package Monday – Friday consisting of 3 half hour calls a day (I would take care of the weekends as dad spent most of them at my home)

Morning – Making sure my dad was up, washed, dressed and had breakfast and prompt medication.

Lunchtime – Making sure dad had prepared or needed lunch preparing and to prompt medication

Dinner – Making sure dad had prepared or needed dinner preparing

I would still be visiting everyday in between these visits, and taking care of his medication before bed. I would still continue to take him for all his hospital appointments, pension, shopping.  I would still be doing all his washing and cleaning, and taking care of his monthly bills and finances (as dad had stopped taking care of all of this)

The Care Package:

A few weeks later the care package commenced, and although I was very apprehensive about it, I soon realised how the support of professional Carer’s was giving me some peace of mind, as well as a little bit of time to myself each day.  I had just spent almost 2 years looking after dad as well as supporting my daughter with picking my granddaughters up from school, or after school clubs etc. . I was spending every day racing against time, making sure I was up early to get to my dads to support him with washing/dressing/eating/medication, it had been exhausting and I hadn’t even realised how it was impacting on me. . I am so glad I took the advice to have a carer assessment.

I have been very involved in getting my dads care package right, it hasn’t been easy and there have been days that things had not gone as expected, in fact there have been days when I was close to cancelling the whole package of care due to quite a few instances, but I will report back on this. . Hopefully it won’t take me 10 months this time.

Talk soon

Chris x


‘Carer Assessment’ The Positive Outcome:

It’s been three months since I’ve posted on my blog, and so much has happened since then regarding my dad’s care. . .

In my previous post I mentioned that I was having a ‘Carer Assessment’ and for anyone who doesn’t know what this is, let me explain. . .

If you are an adult carer, looking after someone (over 18) who is disabled, ill or elderly and has care needs, you as the main carer can request a carer assessment.  A carer’s assessment is an opportunity to discuss what support you need from the local support services.  The assessment will look at how caring effects your life, physically, mentally and emotional, and if you are capable to carry on caring for that person.

(There are also assessments for young carer’s, or a carer of a child under 18)

Carer’s UK have some very useful information – Full details can be found on the following link:


How The Changes In Dads Health Are Impacting On Mine

Memory Loss/Dementia:

It’s been a while since I posted an update on my journey of ‘Caring for Dad’ and over the last few months I haven’t really had the time to sit down and write my blog, as so much has been happening with my dads health and wellbeing.

The changes I am now witnessing in my dad are quite upsetting, not only in his general health, which is declining due to his loss of appetite again, but the realisation that his memory loss, which was diagnosed as the onset of dementia, is really starting to show itself more and more. . .

It has been a constant battle for me to keep my dad active, involved, motivated, well fed, and on top of his medication.  Every day seems like a battle as dad doesn’t seem to have any motivation to look after himself, he needs constant reminding to do even the simplest of things, like making his breakfast (cereal or toast) or changing his clothes!

As a daughter I must admit, the last few months have been very difficult and I wonder some days if I am doing right for doing wrong.

My dad has no recollection of conversations from one day to the next, he can’t remember to take any of his medication, which I now have to administer 3 times a day because he wasn’t taking his meds.  I was finding them in unusual places, in drawers, in glasses, in dishes in the cupboards, in his pockets and even in the bin!  When I try and speak to dad about this, he has no recollection of how they got into these places, so I don’t make a big thing of it, I just smile at him and tell him not to worry.  I now make sure I watch him take his meds.  Sometimes I wonder if he is hiding them because he doesn’t want to take them, or if he just keeps them in his hands and drops them into these places without realising it.

The medication is just one worry of the changes I have seen in my dad.

The memory loss/dementia is starting to be more worrying, dad doesn’t seem to have any idea what day it is, even though I have a whiteboard in his kitchen which I update with the day/date/actions etc. . . Dad doesn’t remember that this is for his benefit, and it’s difficult to know if he realises what is in place for him.

I am now having to remind my dad about changing his clothes as he doesn’t seem to notice if he has spilt food down his shirt, or hasn’t changed in days.  There are days when he hasn’t shaved or even washed, and this is the hardest thing for me as dad was always well dressed, immaculately presented and took pride in his appearance as well as his home.  As a daughter I shouldn’t have to be telling my dad about these thing. . . It makes me very sad!

Dad has also recently been diagnosed with kidney problems and has been referred to a Urologist at the local hospital, this referral resulted in several blood/urine tests, ultrasound scans and a chest X-rays (all of which we are waiting the results of) another worrying wait to see what this means to his health.

The last few months have really taken their toll on me and my general health, I have felt so exhausted, I’ve not been sleeping well and my own appetite has been suffering.  I have found myself running around trying to fit everything in with not enough hours in the day to do some of the things I need to do, like taking time with my gorgeous grandchildren, picking them up from school, just the simple things in life that should be pleasant experiences.

Everyday is taken up with caring for my dad due to his declining health, and although he still lives in his own home, and he want to continue with this as long as he can, the worry for me is enhanced now.

To add an update to the situation as of last week:

I knew I was starting to struggle and I was feeling very emotional some days and quite lonely too.  

I am not a nurse or a professionally trained Carer, I am just doing my best for my dad, making it up as I go along and to say so myself, I think I have been doing a pretty good job so far.  However, over the last few months I have had no support services to help as most of my dad’s assessments of needs had been addresses and his therapy sessions, physiotherapy etc. . came to an end last year.

Therefore, I decided to take the advice of a family member, who suggested I had a ‘Carer Assessment’ they advised me that I had to consider my own health and wellbeing and seek support from the professionals.  I knew this was available and it had been suggested by the care services at some of my dad’s assessments, but I didn’t feel I had needed one at the time.

I had my ‘Carer Assessment’ a few weeks ago and I must say, it was the best decision I have made for myself in a long time.  The assessor was a professional Carer with a range of experience working in the NHS Community Services as well as being a Carer for her own Son.  I felt relieved to be able to talk to someone who knew what I was going through!

I will report back in my next post on the outcome of my assessment.

For further details about Carer’s Assessments please click on the following link:




National Carers Week

This week is National Carers Week

There has been so much Information in the media this week regarding ‘National Carers Week’ and as a carer myself I am so pleased to see this information being promoted through Twitter and Facebook via Carers UK, NHS Trusts and Care Support Agencies across the country.

Research shows many people don’t expect to take on an unpaid caring role but every day 6000 people starting caring for a loved one and I guess I am now one of them.  As I have said many times in my blog, I never expected to be in this position but I have taken on this role and I see myself as the main support for the health and wellbeing  of my lovely dad.

Therefore, I would like to give a big shoutout to all of the wonderful Carers out there, who have taken on the role of support for a loved one, family or friend.

Happy Carers Week ❤️💙

Torn between decision’s ‘Caring’ or ‘Career’

Time for a big decision – Is it time I went back to work?

Throughout the month of February and March I have been thinking a lot about the possibility of returning to work.  As you will know, if you have followed my blog, I have just spent the last year caring for my Dad, although my caring role started back in April 2015 when my dad had his heart attack, I was still employed, and was lucky to be allowed to be quite flexible with my hours, as well as working from home, allowing me the time to look after my dad.

However, when the chance of voluntary redudancy came up, I jumped at the chance, and was happy to have this agreed.

The last year has been difficult, but my dad needed me, and I was happy to be in a position to take on the role of his carer (although my dad always said, he would be ok if I went back to work, I knew this was not the case, and I needed to take responsibility for his wellbeing) Dad has had no further issues with his heart, he continues with his medication and uses his inhalers, which all help, but the diagnosis of Parkinson’s and his ongoing COPD, plus the onset of short-term memory loss has added to his overal health issues.

My dad has lots of good days when he is really well, and then other days he does not feel up to doing anything, when he feels exhausted and tired.  These are the days I find hard, as I always try and involve him in everyday life, and encourage him to come out and get some fresh air, even if is just a short car journey to the local shops, or a visit to the garden centre (which he loves) but saying that, I do know when I need to leave him be, allowing him to just stay at home reading his paper, and watching television.  Dad sleeps a lot these days, and I am aware once I leave him during the day he will have a sleep on and off throughout the day.

Looking at the possibility of a return to work has been on my mind for the last few months, I always thought that I would return, I envisaged taking at least a year off, and I have done all I can within the last year to get the help my dad required through the community services teams.  This consisted of cardiac therapy, rehabilitation programmes, physiotherapy, speech & language therapy, and most recently assessment at the memory clinic.  All of which my dad has found helpful and supportive throughout the last year.

Over the last few months I had been able to see my dad taking more of an interest in things, looking forward to the spring so he could enjoy planting in his garden, and the warm weather had certainly brought out the best in him.  I was starting to discuss my return to work with him, and he was quite supportive of that.

Dad has always said that I should do what I needed to do, and that he would be ok, but that is easier said than done when you see such a dramatic change in someone who has always led a healthy, active and independent life.

So, my decision to return to work was made, I started to look for work, applied for a few posts, nothing really exited me, but they were within my area of expertise.  I was short-listed for one post, and attended the interview, but wasn’t successful, however it was all experience for me, as it had been over 10yrs since I had an interview.  My progression in my career had come with promotions within my work area therefore, interviews were something new, but I was ready to take on the challenge.

During the early part of the year from January to the end of February  my dad was doing well, and looking well, he seemed to be taking an interest in himself again, and looking forward to the warmer weather.  I was continuing my search for a new post, and we discussed the possibility of putting a care package in place for my dad, just  a few days a week, which would give me peace of mind that dad would have professional Carers popping in to check on him, if I was to return to work.

In early March I found the perfect post for me, it was in my work area, it was something I had done for the last 12 years, and I was really excited to see a post (which doesn’t come up very often) that I knew I had all of the essential criteria, the background, the qualifications, and the experience. . .I applied for the post, and patiently waited for a response. . .

However, a few days later, after a visit to dads GP we were informed his on-going blood tests were coming back with worrying results, these had been repeated throughout February and March, the results had shown a drop in dads kidney functions and his blood count was low, he was showing signs of  aenemia and weight loss.  Dads GP went through a series of questioning on health matters with my dad, and subsequently referred him back to the hospital, continuing with checks on his bloods etc. . Another worrying time.

Dad had started to look poorly, he was getting tired easily, exhausted when walking for no more than five or ten minutes, and he was also struggling with his balance and coordination.  I had noticed his short-term memory was becoming worse over just a short space of time, forgetting his medication, taking his evening medication before his morning medication, or not taking them at all.  I was forever finding some of his medication in the bin, and on questioning, my dad couldn’t remember how they had got there.

I had to be careful just how much I pushed my dad, as I didn’t want him to feel confused, therefore I would take it one day at a time, start again, and make sure I was always there to put his medication in his hand throughout the day, and watch him take it. . I hid all of the medication, as I didn’t want him forgetting he had taken it, and looking at taking more! I was feeling very worried, and in need of some help and support myself during this time.

Throughout this time, I was wondering if I would hear anything regarding the post I had applied for, I was already having mixed feelings about my decision to go back to work, and these issues were bringing me back to the worry I had about leaving my dad.  Within the next week, I received an invitation to attend for interview for the post, I had two weeks to prepare a presentation for the interview, and I was really happy to have been invited.

My worries regarding my dad had increased, but despite this, I accepted the invite for interview and proceeded to work on designing my presentation, but my mind was in turmoil throughout this time.  I wanted to attend the interview but I had to address the possibility of not being able to accept the post if I was offered it, due to the increasing awareness of my dads health issues, and my responsibility for his welfare.  I felt torn between my need to continue with my career, and my dads need for me. . .

I made the difficult decision to inform the employer that I would have to decline their kind offer of interview and explained my reasons, thanking them for the offer, and wishing them good luck with their recruitment.

My decision was made, I needed to be available to support my dad through these on-going tests, as well as supporting him with his every day needs, especially with the worrying sign of his failing memory and frailty.  I couldn’t consider putting his welfare in the hands of other Carers, I had come this far with him, I couldn’t leave him to deal with this alone. .

Progress – Positive Reactions

Its good to see a positive reaction to the long awaited therapy group:

In a recent post in October I  wrote about my disappointment of the cancellation of a much awaited ‘Speech & Language Therapy Group’ which my dad had been assigned to in August.  After just 2 weeks on the programme my dad had been informed of the lack of available staff to continue the programme, which had to be cancelled and would be rearranged for October.

Although this did not happen in October, I am pleased to report the programme has now been rearranged and my dad has just completed his 2nd week of group therapy.

These sessions take place at a local GP surgery not far from my dads home, I usually drop him off at 2pm and pick him up at 4pm.  After his 1st session, dad seemed very positive about the group therapy and seemed to have enjoyed meeting other people who have the same problems he has been experiencing due to ‘Parkinsons’

I was really happy that my dad was back on the programme and this time the group seemed to have a lot more people in attendance.

This week when I dropped my dad off at the session I was happy to see him greet the other members of the group with plenty of humour and he seemed happy to see them, this was positive for me especially as I could see a little bit of mischief about him (something I have not seen fo a while)  however, when I was about to leave, letting dad know I would be there at 4pm to pick him up, a lovely elderly lady who was sitting quietly opposite the group spoke to me about dads singing? I approached her, as she was speaking very quietly and I didn’t quite hear what she had said. To my surprise, she told me that she hoped she could hear my dad’s singing soon, I asked her if my dad had been telling the group about his singing with the ‘Irish Guards Choir’ and to my surprise she explained he had been telling the group all about his 12 years singing with the choir, as well as his hopes to join them again one day.

This made me really happy as I had asked my dad if he had participated in the last group discussions and asked if he had spoken about anything of himself in the last session, but he didn’t seem to remember this.  I guess the little short-term memory loss can have that effect on him sometimes and it’s easy for him to forget things while trying to remember other things, such as his fact sheets and his homework (voice excercises)

On my return to pick dad up from his session I noticed how in tune he was with everything going on, it was lovely to see him chatting with other people and looking forward to seeing them the following week, dad even had a plan of action as he greeted me, he suggested we find out if the Irish guards choir would be performing any ‘Christmas Carol Concerts’ and wondering if he may be able to join them!

This was music to my ears, as dad had not showed any interest in joining the choir since his last visit to their practice session last Year.

This was a good day, a day when dad had planned something, a day that I was happy to support an idea and look into making this happen for him (that’s my plan of action for next week)

It would be so lovely to see my dad dress up in his uniform again and attend a carol concert at this special time of the year, I do hope I can make that happen.

Over the last 2 days I have seen such a positive mood in my dad, he has been chatting more, joining in with family conversations, even joking and tormenting his grandson, like he always used to do.  It’s all positive this week, what a difference a few sessions of group therapy can do to lift a persons mood.  I hope this continues, but on the other hand I really wish these sessions had gone ahead when dad was first diagnosed with ‘Parkinsons’ a year ago as everything I have read about, all points to the importance of early therapy sessions to help with the symptoms.

These pathways should be in place for all ‘Parkinsons’ patients and they should not have to wait over a year for these to be put in place, as early treatment or therapy helps with the problems they face and can help them in various ways.


Take Time To Admire Nature – It’s Good For Your Wellbeing!


A Walk In The Park:

I took some time for me today, some time to watch the park at play.

Nature at its very best, an array of colours had come to rest.


I took some time to stand and stare, stunning colours everywhere.

Autumn winds had done their duty, bathing the park in all its beauty.




I took some time to ease my mind, capturing my thoughts inside.

Nature brings out the best in me, a relaxing positivity.



I took some time to reflect on me, realising I’m where I need to be.

Nature changes with the seasons, without asking for the reasons.


Daughter or Carer?

I see myself as a ‘Daughter’ first and a ‘Carer’ second, some would say I am the unpaid ‘Carer’ . . . But I don’t see it that way!

I find it difficult to identify where my responsibilities as a daughter ends and my carer responsibilities start, is there such a thing as a fine line between the two?

I am all dad has and I will be there as long as he needs me, I’m his daughter, his next of kin, the person he relies on. .

It’s been a difficult week, one where I have come to realise that dads condition is getting worse as time goes on, and the events of this week have given way to a number of new anxieties in the ongoing symptoms of dads Parkinson’s disease.

My concerns led me to arrange a checkup with dads GP, which gave me the chance to discuss a new worry, and that is the realisation that dad is having some problems swallowing.  I am aware this is a common symptom of Parkinson’s disease, but doesn’t affect everyone.  On questioning my dad, the GP asked when this had become a problem, but with dads failing short-term memory it was more a persuasion on my part to get dad to identify the timescale of this problem.

I have been worrying about this as its been noticeable to me for a number of weeks, but dad doesn’t seem to agree with me.  I on the other hand tried to acknowledge the GPs concerns regarding a timescale of 6 weeks or more, and explained to my dad that if this was correct, then tests would have to be done to identify the severity of this problem.

Having witnessed a near choking incident during Sunday lunch a week earlier, which was very scary at the time, I was concerned that the swallowing problem was becoming increasingly obvious, although dad masks it well by taking a drink during meals, which helps, but I have noticed his eating habits have become slower, taking in only little portions of food.

The GP has given my dad the benefit of the doubt, instructing him (and me) to consider how and when it is affecting dad, and if we identified it as persisting longer than 6 weeks, then it was important for us to inform the GP.  This would enable him to refer dad on for tests, which would look at his throat muscles, which could be becoming weaker, causing these issues.

I must admit, it’s not a nice test, and I don’t relish the idea of my dad having to go through this, but if it does help identify a problem that could become worse, I would rather know sooner than later.

In the meantime the GP is referring my dad back to the ‘Speech & Language Therapy Team’ and a new referral to the ‘Dieticians’ has been advised, and between them they will discuss this further with dad.

I have always been careful what type of food is prepared for dad, as I have noticed a number of foods that he once used to love, now being left on the plate, I did wonder at first if this was just his lack of appetite, but I am now seeing this is more to do with the issue of swallowing. . .

However, we move on to another week, and as long as I can support dad or point him in the right direction for further support I will continue to do so.

Am I doing this as a Daughter or a Carer?  I’m not sure, but either way it’s for the benefit of dads health and wellbeing. .