Here’s an example.
I visited Mrs F on the 19th May after her daughter had rung us, and asked about live-in care. The reason I had been asked to come out was that Mrs F’s daughter had to visit three or four times a day, caring for her mother as the dementia progressed. Her daughter was finding her mother was turning into another job to do, rather than someone she could actually enjoy being with, and talk to.
When I arrived at the house I spoke for a long time with Mrs F and her daughter, and it became very apparent that her house means everything to her and she wants to remain there. Mrs F and her late husband had moved there in the 1980’s, so she had been there for over 30 years. Also, Mrs F said that she has macular degeneration and she wants to stay at home because she knows where everything is and can find her way around easily. She also was starting to get a bit less mobile, and was finding more and more everyday tasks difficult.
I therefore suggested that if an Occupational Therapist visited, it could be very useful, as would a physiotherapist who might be able to prescribe exercises, so we could work together to keep Mrs F as independent as possible for as long as possible.
A key part of getting care right for someone with dementia (or any other condition, for that matter) is understanding our client as a person. If we know what she likes, we and the carer can help our client to do more of what she likes. In this case, Mrs F said that classical music forms a large part of her life, as does football – her grandfather was one of the founding members of a large London football club.
The first carer arrived on the 14th June (it usually takes two or three weeks to set everything up and find the right carer, though we can do it faster if there is an emergency) and I came back to visit on the 20th. It was one of those visits I love. The occupational therapist had visited and given Mrs F some equipment to help her mobility. The carer and Mrs F really got on well (Mrs F told me how much she liked her) and the daughter said that they had had a large family barbecue at the weekend and everyone had had a great time. She said it was lovely to have her mother, children and grandchildren all there, and to relax and enjoy herself knowing that her mum was being taken care of.
Her daughter has since said that it is lovely to go back to the role of daughter rather than carer and she is now getting to enjoy some time with her mum, talking about her life and experiences.