SWMBO was diagnosed with Dementia some years ago now and I’ve been her full time carer ever since. What with the Covid lockdowns and being SWMBO’s full time carer the days have just passed by at record speeds. SWMBO is mostly in her own little world and even when she is not, having a conversation with her is almost impossible.
Being a full time carer means just that: cooking, cleaning, housekeeping, ironing, attending to personal hygiene needs and ensuring that the larder and refrigerator are always topped up, to name just a few.
As consequence the carer has to ensure that they are alert and attentive to duty at all times to ensure that their loved one is safe and comfortable.
Getting a good night’s sleep is an important ingredient in keeping alert and in my case that is simply not always possible. At the suggestion of her gerontologist I now keep a record of SWMBO’s sleeping patterns in order that he can a better understanding of her needs and perhaps come up with a solution to the problem.
For example, it’s a regular occurrence for SWMBO to wake and get out of bed up to 15 times in a night. On each wakening, she wakes me and I arise to put her back to bed. This means that I’m exhausted when I arise to face the day and even menial tasks become onerous.
Additionally, her falls are now becoming more frequent and as SWMBO now has no strength in her arms and legs getting her back on her feet presents a real problem. I am no longer able to manage this on my own and when the falls occur at night it’s necessary to call the Ambulance Service for assistance. The officers are equipped with portable hydraulic devices that raise the patient to at least bed or chair level and their assistance is invaluable. On one occasion the attending Para Medics considered that medical assistance may have been required and SWMBO was taken to the local hospital casualty ward. Fortunately examination indicated that she had suffered no physical harm in the fall and no medical treatment was required so I was able to bring her home. Fortunately all of her falls have occurred in the house.
Fortunately SWMBO now has a Government Home Care package which provides, inter alia, respite service, some personal hygiene assistance and access to a number of Carer Groups that specialise in assisting carers to manage problems, exchange experiences with other carers and generally offer a personal problem solving service.
On three days a week SWMBO goes into a respite service which leaves me free to have ‘time out’ as the saying goes and I pursue my photography when the weather and the enthusiasm calls. I’m also an avid reader so not an hour of time is wasted.
Of course, planning for the future is not a simple exercise. Just thinking about downsizing fills me with dread. For example, what to do with the mirriad of personal items that have been accumulated over the years.
I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. Trouble is it doesn’t seem too far away.
So, there we are next time I promise not to weigh you down with information about my on going, unexciting existence.
Hoo roo for now.