Whilst we certainly can’t boast QUITE this result, we can certainly boast a successful start to getting more help through my mother’s door.
Mum lives independently in a Retirement Village, but over the last 6 months or so a major challenge came to our door.
And it’s one of the major challenges facing the millions of carers of people living with dementia.
The business of showering, shampooing and general hygiene.
If our experience is typical – and I think it is – I’m quite satisfied that this issue can one of the leading reasons that people have to go into higher care.
With my mum, what we needed was a strategy.
It was no good telling her she NEEDED anything.
And she has dementia, right?!
So we can have a sensible informed conversation with her about making sure she can live in her own home, and the fact that this means she will need a bit more help …. bla, bla, bla.
She can agree and genuinely see that what we are saying makes sense – she might not be thrilled, but she gets it.
BUT ……. she has effectively no short-term memory, so any discussion is a waste of time.
Worse, we as her primary carers, invest in that when what we needed was figure out a strategy to engineer the help she needs through the door, delivered to her in a way that makes sense to her, and is less threatening and offensive.
My mother is 93.
She grew up in a generation where their GPs and other specialists were literally viewed as Gods, and certainly, they had the respect of everyone in the community.
Being able to hang the help mum needs on some sort of “clinical” reason has been the key to this particular lock for us – and maybe it can be the key for you too.
So we tried our “Go to Shower” strategy at home first, – that was my last Blog – success!
Next step was to engage the support staff at the Retirement Village where she lives in the story – the shower and shampoo is about a skin condition which is making your skin itchy vs you NEED a shower and shampoo because you are not clean and not managing it yourself.
I realise it’s not the truth and I realise that some of you reading this might find what we are doing unacceptable.
But my mother is now her own worst enemy, and quite simply, cannot make the best decisions for herself.
In the end, our ONLY goal is to do what it takes to help her live in her own home for as long as we can make that happen.
So far so good, and fingers crossed now that we have started getting “strangers” through her door, that we will be able to tackle the other challenges as they come along.
Who do you know that’s just not managing the day to day because of memory problems?
Whether it’s because of dementia, an acquired brain injury or a mental illness – the result is stress and worry for individuals and for families and carers.
We can help!