I am acutely aware of the lack of posts of late. Things haven’t been easy with the sudden death of a family member and the unrelenting challenges of juggling day to daily life and caring. I’m often asked by those embarking on this journey with their loved ones what it’s like looking after someone with dementia. In all honesty it is one of the hardest things I have ever done, and in one of my darker moments after a particularly difficult day with my Mum and my Aunt, I tried to sum up why…
*The endless treadmill of domestic drudgery
*Dodging the punches, physical and emotional
*Closing your ears to the profanities and angry tirades of blame
*The feeling of sadness when you do something that makes them happy, that is forgotten in minutes
*Biting your tongue when you are constantly told you are never good enough, coupled with the guilt when exhaustion overtakes and you snap back
*The gut wrenching pain of hearing no warmth or empathy from a person who once unconditionally cared for you
*Trying to explain to someone that they need help, when they forget why you do, what you do and think all your efforts are pointless
*The constant dilemma of how to please everyone, and the constant feeling of failure when you realise you can’t.
*The unbearable pain of knowing the only way life could be “easier” is by losing the loved one
*The enormity and exhaustion of being totally responsible for another adults safety and wellbeing
*The frustration that comes from the massive restrictions caring puts on us as a family followed by guilt for feeling that way
*Coping daily with depressive emotional fallout…
“you’re not going to send me away, are you?”
“We live too long,”
“I’m no use to anyone,”
and finally and hardest of all, desperately missing the person you have lost, while catching daily glimpses of who they were to remind you.
I am aware this may all sound very negative but the aim of this blog was to be honest and frank. Obviously I love them both my Mum and Auntie dearly and am grateful to have them with us into their eighties, but sugar coating the world of dementia is not what this is about. I know for us caring for them both was the right path for us to take, but also hope by sharing our experiences it will help others faced with our situation.