“My Dad has dementia” is a phrase that many of us wish we never had to say.
Dementia is an awful thing for the individual, the main carer and family members.
I am a very positive person and I like to re-frame everything but unfortunately there is no re-framing this. Whilst dementia suffers may have a better day, and we all live for these don’t we?! There is only one way for this to go. I think when we come to terms with this, we can move forward being realistic.
This is my story….
My Dad was highly successful and capable, he was the businessman I looked up to for inspiration and later in his career he became an entrepreneur and designed and built amazing wooden buildings. Not sheds no! Please don’t call them sheds. They were bespoke, luxury garden buildings.
In his early career he started out as a typewriter engineer and as computers and technology progressed, he was at the forefront of it all. Our house had the technology and my Brother, and I grew up learning about computers and how to build them. As soon as the internet existed – we had it!
Mum and Dad ran businesses together. It was a roller coaster of successful and sometimes not so successful times, but they always got back up fighting. They taught me what it was to be a dedicated, hardworking business owner.
I met my husband 16 years ago in 2005 and at this point we were already noticing signs that my Dad’s behaviour was changing.
Fast forward to 2018 and we had a diagnosis of FTD – Frontal Temporal Lobe Dementia. Receiving a diagnosis for a loved one comes with many emotions. Relief, worry, upset, anger, dread and many more. You then have to start looking at the practicalities of managing their condition and supporting them to live in the moment, making as many memories as possible with family now. There is no mañana with dementia!
Don’t forget to think about the quality of life for the main carer and close family. At some point however much they resist, help and support will be needed.
For the main carer sometimes, moral support is useful in the form of regular phone calls and messages. Let them have a moan but change the subject and cheer them up.
Take them some flowers or a packet of their favourite biscuits. My Mum loves chocolate covered gingers!
I do these things to support my Mum. I also go out for walks with my Dad or even just sit with him and have a cup of tea.
Recently I have been helping by cutting my Dad’s hair. This has been a simple thing, but it makes him feel smarter and better about himself and it is one less thing for my Mum to worry about.
We will soon need to think about getting in some support. This is tricky though as we would not be able to tell my Dad that he was going to have a carer; plus my mum is very capable.
I believe this is a gentle slow process using the right wording.
For some people getting support in the shape of tidying, cleaning, or making the beds can take just enough pressure off. We always need to remember that people are proud, and nobody wants to lose their independence. Admitting that you need support can be the most difficult step for most people. Click here to book a call.
My Dad is battling with the fact that he knows parts of his brain are dying. He has always felt capable and useful, so understanding these feelings is a must when I try to help, and it should be for you too.
Think about the dementia sufferer and think about the main carer. Look at the practical help but don’t forget to look at how it’s introduced with love, empathy and support.
Make sure you look at a bespoke package of care with a company like Apollo Care – South Wirral. Suzanne Janvier their Director has many years of experience, and she is so dedicated to providing a quality, bespoke service to the families she supports. To book a discovery click here now.