Thursday, 10 November 2016
Caring For The Elderly
I have looked after my Mum for so many years now, it's become like part of the furniture. I more or less started taking her under my wing in 1999 after Dad died. At first though, when you start off sorting out a few bills, filling in forms, doing little repairs around the house, making telephone calls, decorating the house etc you don't think about how further down the line, you could end up running yourself ragged, putting in 20 - 30 hours a week, doing almost everything for your elderly parent (before your own job and running your own life.)
This is the position I have been in for some time now. As Mum has got more forgetful, confused, not to mention, physically frail, the little bit of extra work here and there, has, over the years, increased to acute proportions. Recently I have had to deal with so many episodes of Mum's various health issues, confusion, hallucinations, mood swings, falls, ailments, delirium, paramedic call outs, doctor appointments, warden call outs, courses of anti-biotics and other of her medications to oversee.
Add to this Mum's shut down - she stopped cooking and preparing food, then she stopped eating, even when food was brought, she stopped bathing, stopped getting dressed in the mornings, she stopped doing her laundry, she stopped moving, and even stopped watching telly (her favourite pastime.) Therefore all this has become my responsibility - and as an only child, it sucks, I don't mind admitting it!
Myself and partner, and to an extent my daughter also, have therefore had a heck of a job coping with all this recently. Our own needs have been shoved to the side, and being in our (very) late fifties ourselves, the tiredness has been crushing, and the knock on stress of not being about to work at our own jobs, and the financial implications of this are difficult to explain adequately.
Mum is now in hospital, after one fall too many, and has been dx with Alzheimer, which is very sad, but as we expected. Her confusion has become high level over the last few months, and I am having to come to terms with the fact that I have already 'lost' my Mum. It is clear too that we cannot care adequately enough for her now. We were already struggling severely. Her needs are too varied and complex. They are at this moment compiling a 'care package' which will enable her to stay in her own home a bit longer, if the measures are adequate. This will also hopefully mean that I will have get some of my life back. Maybe I will have chance to actually make some new artwork, which I haven't done for several months.