Caring for someone with dementia is hands down the most rewarding thing I have ever done. I would put it above getting my degrees when I was told I’d never make it to uni. Its my greatest achievement giving Nan all that time I did and having all the memories in the form of photographs and videos was my best idea (being modest obviously!)
Its not all sunshine and flowers though and nobody going through exactly the same thing should be ashamed to ask for help. We reached out to Alzheimer’s support who were so amazing and from the moment we reached out to them I have felt like I always had somewhere to turn if I needed to. We arranged for Nan to have a weekly visit from a home support worker who quickly felt like she became a friend of the family.
Before Nan got carers and when I was doing the majority of the caring these weekly visits were invaluable. It gave me some time each week where I could stop worrying just for a little bit and I really enjoyed this time and I know that Nan did too.
Another thing I remember vividly was going to the memory cafe that they run. We only went twice because the third time I tried to take her she wasn’t having any of it; Nan was boss after all!
The cafe was very relaxed but also my first experience of coming across other carers in the same situation as me. It did upset me a little, it was the first time I felt that Nan and I had left our dementia bubble and interacted and I felt overwhelmed. I spent a good part of the next month worrying that I would wake up the next day go to Nans and find that she had passed away. Realistically there was no new reason for me to feel this way but I think I had a panic over what dementia really was. The irony that Nan would be around nearly 3 more years and it wasn’t actually dementia that took her from me in the end.
We won a plant in a raffle, thats in the picture above. We planted it when we got home, we didn’t do very good at keeping it alive but it was still a good memory all the same and somewhere I have photos of us planting it or most so Nan stood there telling me I was doing everything wrong. I have very fond memories of all the help we got with Alzheimer’s support and some of the first people I contacted after her death was her support workers because they became more like friends and family than outsiders and its a bond that I am happy to have formed.
Its because of this relationship with the charity that we have asked for any donations at her funeral to go to them. Unfortunately due to the current situation it is only close family going to the funeral and there won’t even be a donation box for us which is why a tribute site is set up for Nan.
We have had some donations already and this makes me happy because I have fully benefited from the work that they do and I can’t praise them enough.
I am forever thankful