I’ve been invited to invade my mum’s blog (and give her a break for a day!). I’m Sarah (picture above, mum made me put it in!). I’m 34 and Wendy’s eldest daughter. I’ve gone back into education as a student nurse and also work for a care agency to fund my studies. This mainly involves working in care homes (in
which many residents have dementia). When I moved to York to start my studies in October 2012, I moved in with mum.
Just under 2 years ago my mum had a series of mini strokes. This came as a big shock. What mum hasn’t really mentioned in her past blogs is how fit and healthy
she is. Only 4 years ago she did the 3 peaks in 9 hours , she walks miles (and very fast, I always have to remind her to slow down when she’s with me!), and she has
the most healthy diet of anyone I know. So it seemed massively unfair that it happened to her.
Following the strokes her memory started declining further and she was sent for all sorts of tests. Even though I lived with her at the time, there were two reasons why it wasn’t very obvious to me what was happening. 1. She has very good coping mechanisms in place which she has hidden well and 2. I have always had a very poor memory so I just thought it was normal!!
Even though we were all expecting the diagnosis, when she was actually diagnosed, it was a big shock. I think we all had a bit of hope there that it wouldn’t be Alzheimer’s and there was some other explanation. Mum has been inspiring in her reaction and coping mechanisms. Mum is a practical and organised person by
nature and as soon as she had sorted a few things like finances out, she appeared to feel more in control and has thrown herself into her work with Alzheimer’s
Society. She is a demonstration of creating positives out of something really horrible.
I had thought it was very handy that I lived with her so I could eventually help more as the illness progressed. However, when my boyfriend asked me to move in with
him about 5 months ago, mum pretty much pushed me out the door!! (Mum adding – I even helped her pack!!) What I hadn’t realised, was that mum didn’t want me or Gemma (my sister) caring for her in the future. She doesn’t want the burden on us to give up work and look after her when some days she may not know who we are. Although I would of course care for mum as I love her very much, I know that is the last thing she wants and I have to respect her wishes.
One of the hardest things so far was the three of us going through the Power of Attorney forms. It was hard hearing about mums wishes for when she inevitably loses mental capacity and can’t make decisions for herself. However, I can’t stress how important it has been to do this at this stage. Me and Gemma are now 100% clear on exactly what mum wants. So although it was difficult, mum is going to get her needs met when the illness takes hold. Also it will mean that me and Gemma won’t actually have to make any decisions for mum, as mum has made them all herself.
The word ‘blog’ hadn’t even entered mums vocabulary before so I’m really happy she has found this different way of putting ‘pen’ to ‘paper’ which means we can all
learn about her experience