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: