The sadness that is Dementia….
Hi everyone I’m Janet one half of Sharkey and Duff.
Today I wanted to talk about the heartache, trials and tribulations of a having a parent that suffers from Dementia.
My lovely, reserved, strong, rock of a Dad Geoff was diagnosed 5 years ago and since then has started fade mentally from us day by day. The effect this has on myself and my family has been devastating.
My mother has become totally dependent on me, with her daily ,continuous phone calls .As she tries to cope with the fact that the man she has been married to for most of her life, slips away from her. As the love of her life and her constant partner becomes a stranger in her home. This is exhausting . The way she feels the need to recall to me every tiny piece of my Dads loss of dignity and his daily confusion is vey hard to hear. I don’t feel I should have too he’s my Dad.
I know I shouldn’t be cross, I know I should be supportive, sympathetic and patient but Its hard. What I feel is angry and upset. Angry at My Dad for becoming ill , angry at my Mum for not being able to cope and upset with myself for feeling this way.
I watch as my first real life hero the first man in my life, the one to pick me up, wipe my tears, fix my car, walk me down the aisle becomes a shadow of his former shelf.
The scared confused little old man in front of me surely can’t be my Dad?
I struggle to cope with the fact that I am becoming the carer, that I am now the one my parents rely on.
As my brother tries to deny this is all happening (this I feel is his coping mechanism )so I feel I am left to shoulder the burden. I’m the one they look too but I’m sure he feels that too.
As my mother becomes more and more deflated, defeated and worn out, the decision to put my father in a home looms ahead of us.
Although I know she can’t carry on much longer, the child in me is resentful that she won’t continue to look after my beloved Dad no matter what.
The thought of him being in a home brings up thoughts that i don’t wish to imagine.
Will they be kind to him ?
Will he be upset ?
Will he be lonely ? My heart breaks daily.
He went into respite for the first time this week my mother needs a break for the sake of her health.
As I visited him I realised this has been the first time I’ve been alone with him in a long time. My mother usually talks for him or over him. It has suddenly dawned on me the gravity of my fathers illness, just how much of him we have lost. How little he remembers and the fact that he doesn’t sometimes know who I am.
When he does remember and he hugs me, I hold onto that moment it is precious.
The future is scary and daunting but most of all sad so very sad.