My name is Kirsty and in July 2012 I moved in with my nan to help her after she ended up in hospital due to a fall where she broke her wrist and cracked her head open. Only a few months before this she ended up in hospital again due to a fall, but where she fractured her hip. I will admit that I did not move in with her solely due to my selfless nature, but also because it would help me save for travelling.
I have to say I did not realise how hard it would be. Nan refuses to go to the doctor for a memory test so nothing has been officially diagnosed but many of her behaviours signify dementia. We have known for a while that nan has struggled with her memory but living with it has really bought it home for me.
I have realised that I am not the only one going through a situation similar to this, but I wanted to start logging it so that other people can understand what a family go through when a loved one suffers from memory problems. But also to help people going through it to realise that they are not alone. I also really want to raise awareness, as still people find dementia and alzheimers a big joke, you do have to laugh or you would cry but it has repurcussions for the family and friends of the sufferer.
My first big rant is of course money related. It makes me furious that my nan who worked hard all her life will one day have to sell her house to pay for her care. Whereas the people who live on benefits will have their care paid for them. Why should my nan have to give up her assets to pay for something that hundreds of thousands of lazy so and so’s will get from mine, and my nan’s tax? Also we have recently had a letter from the council informing us that my nan will lose some of her pension credit and her council tax bills will increase, as well as being taken off the social services register (and so losing her meals on wheels and carers) because I have moved in. So despite the fact that I have moved in to help care for her I will actually be hindering her by being here? The alternatives? Let her live on her own, and be a danger to herself until the council pick up on how unwell she is and give her 24h care, and let me be homeless. All of which would cost more per annum than the pension credit, and social services she receieves!
Today really highlighted for me how dangerous my nan is when left on her own. She had forgotten about a pan where she was boiling a dishcloth (apparently this is something old fashioned people do?) and I came downstairs to an acrid smell of burning and a brown smoking dishcloth which was moments from catching alight. My nan hadn’t even noticed the smell, and is not quick on her feet so if I had not been home to catch it, the consequences would have been dire.
My second rant is more for me personally to get things off my chest. These are not things which puts my nan in danger, but things that when you live with can become very infuriating and hard to know how to deal with. Luckily I have recently been put in contact with an admiral nurse who is a star and is helping me understand dementia more as well as giving me tips for coping with situations better. Such as when my nan follows me round the house and hovers, just staring at whatever I’m doing. I like my space so this is probably the hardest part for me to cope with, but I’ve found that explaining where I’m going, what I’m doing and keeping doors open to enable my nan to see me has helped to reduce the stalking. Obviously dementia affects memory, so another problem is conversation, we have been known to have to same three to four sentences on a loop for at least half an hour (weather is a particular favourite), I still find that I feel impolite when I change the subject but there is only so many times you can repeat yourself on a topic as mundane as the weather!
This is it for now, I’m sure I’ll be updating quite frequently. Please comment with your own experiences, and maybe anything you have found has helped 🙂
Thankyou for reading