Prevention is Better than Cure with Dementia
It is devastating when a loved one is diagnosed with dementia.
Not just for the person receiving the diagnosis, but perhaps even more so for the person who is going to be caring for them.
After my Mum was diagnosed with Vascular Dementia, my Dad cared for her at home. I used to ask him constantly if he was coping OK, and he insisted that he was. He appeared to be fine on the outside, but I obviously had no idea how he felt on the inside, and what he was going through.
It wasn’t until one afternoon when I visited them both and he asked me to go out in to the back garden, that I realised he had been putting on a very brave face. I knew just by looking at him that there was something seriously wrong. He was shaking uncontrollably, and broke down in tears as soon as we stepped outside. He pleaded with me to have her taken into care immediately because he just couldn’t cope any more, not even for one more night. The sad thing was that my Mum had no idea what he was going through.
Even when she was taken into care he continued to visit her almost every day, taking her out in the car as often as he could, again putting his own health at risk. Once more it all got too much for him, and he suffered a nervous breakdown in November 2012, spending 6 weeks in hospital over Christmas and New Year.
It is very hard for me to watch my Mum deteriorate with this awful condition, but I can’t even begin to imagine what it must be like for my Dad to see his wife of 65 years the way she is now. He is watching her change from someone who he spent every day talking to, going out to Garden Centres with and going on holiday with, to this person who can no longer have a conversation with him, and refers to him as Dad instead of Albert.
I recently took my Dad on a Coach Trip, which we both thoroughly enjoyed. It was nice to spend more time with him than I normally would do. We had a chance for more meaningful conversation, so I could understand better what is worrying him.
If you have a relative or friend who is caring for someone with dementia, keep an eye on them and try to make sure that they are looking after their own health as well. Spend quality time with them, and make them aware that they don’t have to go through this alone. Encourage them to take some time out for themselves. Don’t let things reach a crisis point like they did with my Dad. Prevention is better than cure.
My free booklet of Tips for Coping with Dementia can help to relieve the stress which can creep up on you when caring for a person with dementia. Subscribe to my newsletter, and receive the booklet today.
What tips do you have to avoid getting to the point when it all gets too much?