Dad's Care Home Adventure.
Its been about a month now since Dad moved into a care home. Its been a blog writing that I have been putting off and off. However I know some of my friends are going through similar circumstances, it is a story that needs to be told and discussed. This is how we got to the position of deciding that it was time.
Looking after Dad is a unique experience. He looked after me for so long so it is the least I can do. However, since Christmas, it had begun to affect both My Mum and my health and well-being. I could see it in Mum and she in me. The impact on a carers life affects everything, from social aspect, to physical health, and financial. In some ways it doesn't matter, but then my Dad would be upset if he thought he was causing difficulties in anyway.
Mum had friends ringing round local residential homes to find out about them, cost, facilities, ethos etc. This was helpful since whenever we though about it, it felt like a bit of a betrayal, going behind Dads back to discuss his future.
It came to a big head when one day I arrived at Mum's when she was struggling to look after some of Dads personal care. I tried to help, Dad got very agitated, for Dad angry, he did not want his daughter to do his personal care. I was in this strange place, listening to Mum struggle, knowing that standing for this long caused her pain in her replaced hips and arthritic back. She was amazing in being calm and supportive of Dad, having to hide from him how much it hurt. It took about an hour until we could all sit down with a cup of tea. We had to then admit that, physically, this was becoming impossible.
Trips to residential homes were tearfully made. This was without Dad. How can you explain to someone who may or may not know exactly who you are other than you are important to him, or that it is for a long time, when he has no understanding of a day passing, or an hour for that matter.
The social work was rang. This time she came over. She discussed how they have been trying to find a sit in care service overnight for us for over 3 months with no luck. She was also going to look into residential homes too. A couple of days later she rang to say there was a bed in the local dementia specialist home. We went to visit, and very quickly a day to move Dads belongs came.
I gathered boxes and bags took them down the day before. Staff put up a grand picture of a steam train and some of his ranger pictures. I picked out one of my favourite crochet blankets. The room looked more like a Mason room.
I don't think I slept much that night. So many different thought going round my head. The biggest was one of letting Dad down, that we weren't doing enough, of failure.
My sister came on the day to help us. The home has a lovely cafe open to the public. We all went for lunch. Then My sister and I went downstairs in the lift with Dad. Mum just sat and cried in the cafe. She couldn't face it at all.
Dad was curious about the lift, and about where we were going. He likes to read all the signs as we go too. As we came into the rooms, the staff all knew his name, he was amazed that they did and that they were so nice. When he got to the room you could see he looking and thinking and wondering why his things were here. He wanted to know where the car was and how can we get this back to the car. My sister and I said that this was his room. He was not sure, kept saying seriously. This is serious you know. It was getting hard.
We moved into the common room. Set up a jigsaw on the table. Had a cup of tea. Did the jigsaw. Slowly one of the lovely care works took over from the jigsaw from us, and we , very emotionally left him.
I can honestly say it was the hardest moment in my life.