Carers Group: 11/01/21

The group were back for the first meeting of the new year.

Coping strategies for feelings of being overwhelmed

Peter spoke about the issue that affects many of us at the moment. A summary of the talk is here and a one page help-sheet here.

Dementia research

Janet talked through the possibly avoidable factors contributing to developing dementia.

Vaccinations

A very popular topic. Several members of the group had taken their loved one for their first jab. Local surgeries and the Princess Royal hospital had provided a very safe and efficient service. Picking a quiet time was recommended.

Covid

Two members had contracted the virus. One had thought it was just a cold but, at Janet’s prompting, they had gone for a test – and came back positive. The other’s husband had gone into hospital, caught it, come out and given it to her. Both were able to pop along to the group for a short while – another success for Zooming. We wish thenm a speedy recovery.

Missing? Presumed dead?

Two very unfortunate stories.

One person had been in and out of hospital. On trying to trace them in hospital, their wife had to wait 48 hours before she was able to make contact. Other patients in the ward were eventually able to make calls to the carer – the hospital staff less successful.

Another carer was confused when she tried to get her mum’s prescription. Mum had been recently discharged from hospital. The hospital didn’t tell her GP that she had been discharged, they said she was dead! The pharmacist was, understandably, reluctant to issue a prescription for a dead person. The carer said “But I only spoke to her 10 minutes ago – she is at home!”. In the end, it was agreed she was alive [and came to our Friendship Group on the 12th January].

Visiting Care homes

More changes have come about with the latest lockdown. One carer is concerned that her relative is feeling isolated and depressed. Their home is understaffed (due to the virus) and is not providing the stimulation, activities, and other support that is needed. There has been a promise of an assessment visit from the mental health team.

Another carer was told she can visit her mum, by standing on a wooden plinth outside and speaking through a window. The home had arranged a special room for visitors, but this was not going to be used for the foreseeable future. Update: the day after this meeting the carer contacted the home, was assertive in setting out the reasons why the special room should be used – and the care home manager agreed. Success! Update2: the following day the home owner stated the home would not allow visitors to use the special room.

Location, location, location

We were told a Friendship Group regular was now reluctant to eat – in the kitchen. But, she would eat – in a favourite chair. Feeling safe, comfortable and relaxed made all the difference.

90 minute turn-around

Christmas had gone really well for a carer and her mum. In the evening the carer returned to her home, then 90 minutes later she had a call from her mum’s neighbour. Mum had come round asking questions in a confused state. The carer went back and found her mum’s mental state had radically changed. Just a temporary blip. Since then, mum has continued to be rather good at cooking vegetables, but forgets the meat and potatoes.

It was good to see the group members and hear how they were managing, even it these difficult times.

Next meeting the 8th February.

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