Carers Group: 17/01/22

A New Year

The Carers Centre & Memory Clinic

Janet told the group that The Greenwich Carers Centre is closed, including the cafe. You can phone for support. The Memory Clinic is also closed. There are no face to face appointments. You can get in touch by phone, but do accept delays. There may be Zoom meetings and, in exceptional circumstances, a home visit.

Where is mum?

While a carer was unwell over Christmas time her mum had some odd moments and did some odd things. She kept crossing over the road looking for her mum.  Fortunately, the neighbours know the situation and gave help. Also, she is phoning the daughter and asking where her mum is. The daughter asked the group for advice on how to answer and soften the blow.

Janet said the mum may feel unsettled and her mum means security and stability. Ask her what do you want to talk to your mum about?

The group agreed any comments about the mum would need to be handled carefully. It’s about balance. Avoid lying and steer the conversation somewhere else. Speak to the neighbours about deflection conversations about mum. 

Long separations

Another carer hasn’t seen her dad due to COVID and he has a cold at the moment.

Janet advised her to speak to the social worker about her circumstances and visiting. The daughter has some time off in February and  hopes to sort things out.

How to choose what is best

A carer explained that her husband has had dementia for the last four and a half years. The last few months he became bad tempered and suspicious, so he went into respite. He spent several weeks in hospital and then could not come home. He has been in interim care for the last few weeks. He now thinks it’s his home. His wife misses him dreadfully and grieves for the 60 years they’ve had together. It’s very painful and when her heart rules her head, she wants him home. They have four children with differing views on what to do. She now feels she is battling on her own.

The group discussed the challenges of trying to look after the husband at home. There would be a need for day and night carers. The husband would need a bed downstairs, but the bathroom is upstairs. The practical issues were great, but the group emphasised the impact on the carer and the rest of the family. They suggested writing down the pros and cons to yourself and to her husband. Thinking about of her health now and before – how much can she cope with?

Germs and homes

A brother explained his sister has developed a fixation on gems and getting ill. She had toothache and her face became swollen, it was eventually sorted. Her brother is going to buy M&S dinners as she says she’s not eating. She has a lovey flat now, but wants to move back to her old home (which is no longer there). She even signed up for a flat which the brother had to sort out. 

Cruising

A husband likes cruising and it has become an obsession, looking at brochures etc. But several times he has booked a cruise on his own and didn’t tell his wife. She has had to cancel and inform the company of his dementia. She feels awful but knows they couldn’t do a cruise. He wouldn’t be safe. She doesn’t know if he understands. She hates being the policeman and it must be horrible for him.

Group suggestions were: getting out old cruise photos and appropriate meals; tell him you’ve booked one for the end of the years and maybe he’ll forget. Arrange a visit to a cruise ship while in dock for a day’s visit. 

Another carer said her dad had an obsession with a singer and booked a trip to Spain to see him. His son had a long conversation with him and eventually he agreed he would need to stick to watching his videos of the singer. The dad sulked for a couple of months, but it worked. 

Next meeting 14th February 2022.

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