This is copied from another blog I have. I hope that no explanation or introduction is necessary (I think I have written about it here anyway) but in short I am the sole carer for my mother who is suffering from an early onset form of vascular dementia.
It’s more than a year since I wrote something in this blog about how things are going with my Mum. Things are not really going well and we are approaching a time of big changes. But as I re-read my last blog entries it strikes me that it is something of a miracle that we have lasted this long before reaching the point we are now at. The time has now come when I have to face the fact that my care is no longer enough. Actually that is not the hard part… The hard part for me will be letting go and letting other people take charge of my Mum’s life. And knowing that for both me and my Mum there is no way back from the decision I am taking…
A few months ago I was called back from one of my teaching tours in Europe because Mum wasn’t coping. I had enlisted an army of care workers to come in at various times of the day while I was away to cook her meals, get her up and dressed, take her shopping, keep her company and monitor her medications. But it wasn’t enough. She went missing twice and once the police had to be involved to find her. When I got back I had a long conversation with her doctor and he put into words what I already knew, Mum has to go into a care home.
I haven’t worked since then. The last couple of months I have been babysitting Mum constantly and in the brief moments I have to myself when other care workers come in I have been visiting care homes.
Some of the care homes I have visited were very distressing and I have felt physically sick after seeing them. However I persevered and eventually made a short list of places I think are okay. The last couple of weeks I have taken Mum to visit the best ones and I think we are close to a decision. She hates the idea of course, but I think on some level she does understand that it has to be.
Of course finance will be a problem. My mum has enough money that she doesn’t qualify for any help from anywhere. That means we will have to sell her house just to raise funds for an insurance that will pay her care home fees as long as she lives. That will be a huge wrench for her and for me too, it is my childhood home and would have been my inheritance…
So between now and the end of the year I think the move will happen. I think the place we will soon decide on is good and caring and will enable her to live as fully as possible. It will also enable me to go back to work and get on with my life.
I have missed my normal life, I have missed being me; but none of these things are as bad as missing my Mum who is disappearing from me day by day. As hard as these present days are; they are also precious. There are moments when she feels so distant but other moments when we have never been as intimate or close. She looked after me so well as a child and it’s a privilege to be able to look after her now. I just wish this time had not come so soon. I am not sure exactly how I will feel when the move actually happens but I am sure that between now and then things are going to be very busy and very emotional.
I wrote the above a couple of months ago. Things have moved on since then and things have indeed been busy and emotional. I found a good care home and my mum has been there a few weeks now. I am meanwhile slowly clearing out her house and getting ready to sell it to pay for her care. More than that I can’t really put into words at the moment, it is too close and overwhelming.