My mother was a nurse for the elderly.Both on normal wards and on wards for dementia sufferers. Caring for someone when they really need care is a bone job that is both physically and mentally worn down. It’s not just about doing a few purchases and administering the medication. And even if it is only one person, one should not underestimate the emotional additional burden of caring for a loved one and observing his decay.
That was the case with my grandfather.There was a 20-year age difference between my grandfather and my grandmother. That is, while my grandfather’s dementia was getting worse, my grandmother was still working full-time. For them it was out of the question that he would come to a nursing home. She wouldn’t give up her husband!
I had helped out as many times as I could, but I was also seized by my studies.And yet it often became critical, two examples:
- My grandfather was mostly sitting in front of the TV all day.
This led to his leg muscles being quite atrophied. Sometimes he started to go hiking in the apartment at night because he wanted to blow up the lawn in the garden (a garden we didn’t have btw.) and since we lived on the fourth floor he tried to go down the stairs. However, he fell down the stairs at least three times. What could have been fatal.
But what had the effect that he could no longer wash himself. He couldn’t clean his butt either. Sometimes he had missed the toilet. Well, we don’t want to elaborate on that. In the end, that meant that we had to clean the toilet very often. And had to help my grandfather bathe. Which, for God’s sake, is not easy when you are dealing with a disturbing demented person who does not want the eventuel and fights back with his hands and feet. Hopefully, I don’t have to mention that these incidents didn’t exactly happen to their marriage.
EelMy grandmother endured this for five years. And then she decided to finally do the right thing. The day the carers picked up my grandfather, my grandmother collapsed in tears because she felt like she was letting him down. However, the situation improved enormously for my grandfather afterwards, as after years he finally had other social contacts instead of his two “carers”. What we clearly noticed when we visited him every other day.
No, as the son of a nurse for the elderly and as the grandson of a dementia sufferer, I can say that it is not the best.Not for the person to be cared for, nor for the “caregivers”. The best thing is to give his beloved family member the best possible professional care and not to cut it out of his own life.