Nan and I…
If you had seen the relationship my nan and I had about 5/6 years ago it would be a surprise. You would find it hard to believe that we’d end up the two peas in the pod we are now. This is obviously minus myself not having dementia. Nan favoured the grandsons which was fine, and I was the only granddaughter. For many years I was probably the wicked witch from the west and couldn’t do a thing right. Now aside from the odd time a tantrum is occurring and I can’t do a thing right I am the beez kneez!
Becoming a carer of someone with Dementia…
I never saw myself becoming a carer for Nan. It kind of happened by accident, but I do not mind in the slightest. Slowly but surely it came that I found myself visiting nan every single day. The weekly shopping visits became bi-weekly. This was because she would always be running out of cake which comes as no surprise. I suddenly went from using no minutes every month on my phone contract to using a good few hundred with morning wake up and evening night calls. The daily visit is in between, sometimes twice no matter what happens though Nan knows that I am there.
Dementia is hard, I mean – I thought old age comes and you get forgetful and you get dementia and that’s life. That’s how naïve I was before nans diagnosis. I didn’t get how hard it would be for nan, me, the family, everyone.
How I feel…
What is hard is trying to explain how it makes me feel. The easiest bit if the carrying on, the soldiering on through. If I had a pound for every time in the last 18 months that I had been asked “how do you carry on” well id probably have £25 . However the point still remains, people think I am some kind of wonder for soldiering on through. I assure every single person reading this, if the chips are down you just do! It can be very emotional at times, and suffering from mental health issues myself I can sometimes feel that my own health does take a battering. This is for the sake of carrying on.
I am very lucky to have a doctor that finally understands that no matter the impact on me, I can’t stop because I suffer a greater impact to my health should I give up, or not try. Damn my inner need to succeed it has caused me many headaches in the past.
Lets not go too much into this…
The one time I didn’t try something lead me to many months of feeling like a failure (It was an exam at uni and in the grand scheme of things it wasn’t the priority at the time). Plenty of doctors have tried to make me stop things in the past but this GP understands that’s the opposite of what I need . I want to learn to find a routine that paces me. It has to help nan and keeps us both in the best health and overall. I think we have found that with the bi-daily telephone calls and a visit in between. With the regular visit to the GP to.
The reality is….
Sometimes though, I get really upset, sad because Nan isn’t like nan used to be. There will no longer be nans sausages and chips and I mean nan made the best homemade chips. Nan doesn’t get the bus to town and run around quicker than most people at 8:30 in the morning. I am sad for Nan because she’s lost all this. We continue and whilst life in terms of nan is different for us all the rest of the life remains the same. I sit at my laptop on the evenings, I spend my days switching between studying, YouTube and trying to exercise where possible, I work, I see friends. Nothing of that has changed for me but in Nans head everything must feel different and harder.
Tonight for example I spent 15 minutes discussing what time is the best time to go to bed and wake up in the morning. I am going to take her shopping in the morning and she wants to make sure she is up in time . She will be up in time, I think because she always does but there is a chance she may not be. There is every chance that I will get there, and she will ask me “What are you doing here this time of night”. She will not realise we are meant to be going shopping. Then I’ll take her shopping and despite the fact she is desperate to go and choose her own food it will be hard.
We will last 5 minutes round the supermarket before I must distract her with a cup of tea and a massive slice of cake. Yay for cake!
Still, even though my easter morning started with a “I am terribly ill, I need to see a doctor” at 7:30am this morning, I wouldn’t change a thing about looking after Nan. The 800 photos and videos I have on my phone would prove that. 75% of the time we have fun, even when im cooking dinner, making tea, I make it all fun. The hard 25% is the reality of dementia and it is hard for everyone.
If you are caring for a loved one with dementia, you are amazing. Keep going. Keep strong, everyone has your back.