Sunday, 24 September 2017

Douglas and Deb - the Dream Team!

Douglas was 94 in March. Amazing as the family were all called to the bedside a couple of years ago for his final moments. He recovered and lives independently in his 4 bed home.
When his regular cleaner left his daughter Alison identified a friend in need of some income and suggested she might be suitable. From April Deb went a couple of times a week to clean for Douglas.

Douglas is a former teacher. He uses e-mail and manages all of his affairs but relies heavily on his daughter Carol 200 metres down the road for daily social contact. Carol and Alison were delighted that the twice a week visits from Deb relieved Carol of her visits from her father. She thinks he is great, but every day was a bit much.

Douglas announced that as well as cleaning the house Deb would be happy to tidy the garden, so her time with him has increased. In conversation whilst discussing current affairs and family matters Douglas will often refer to Deb's opinions. " Deb was saying" etc. All agree she has been a positive influence on Douglas' life.

Douglas was widowed 11 years ago. He visits his wife Catherine's grave and takes roses from the garden. One day in August as he and Alison took a stroll round the garden in the sunshine he announced that it was time for the rose bed to be lifted. He and Deb had discussed it! Alison agreed and asked if she could have some of the bushes for her family home 7 miles away to remind her of her mother. " I've told Deb she can have them all. I am not at all sure about you having any". When Alison suggested just one of the 10 bushes he confirmed " But I have told Deb she can have them all".
They continued walking and Alison bent to pull a weed from the rockery. " Don't do that Deb is weeding that next week".

Alison is smiling because now he has Deb in his life he feels he has more independence and can do what he wants. She did however, want one of her Mum's roses. As Deb is Alison's friend she asked her about the roses and Deb was delighted for her to have 3 - she didn't really want them all.  Will Douglas recognise them in Alison's garden?

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Henry and Emma make the most of the facilities!

Henry and Emma moved close to their daughter 10 years ago. They are 84 & 88. Henry has been in physical decline for about 4 years with Emma keeping everything organised , including their daughter Joanna who was 60 in April. With 3 siblings living between 2 and 4 hours away she is the first point of contact and enjoys her daily visits to her parents. Emma was driving until 12 months ago. Henry and Emma quite a double act!

It has been clear that Emma's memory has declined over the past 3 years and tests were commenced at the start of the year. Carers were employed to support Henry and Emma whilst Joanna continued with her full time job.
8 months ago it was not good with Emma fiercely defending their independence and being rude to the carers. 5 months ago there was an " incident" when Emma chucked the carers belongings out of the window. Then 6 weeks ago it hit a serious point with physical and verbal abuse to the carers.
She was sectioned and hospitalised.

Henry stayed at home with the carers for the first few weeks then moved to a brand new care home not far from the hospital. Joanna visited Emma daily and was disappointed to notice that she always signed in after her own name meaning that the other 5 patients on the ward did not receive any visitors.

2 weeks ago when she went to visit, Emma was not in the day room. She found her still in bed and not well. Checks were made and an ambulance called with a urinary tract infection diagnosed. Consultants advised Joanna that her mother's body was " closing down" and that they should all be prepared to say goodbye. Her sister came to support her with brothers soon after.

1 week later, Henry gave his care home cause for concern and was sent to the same hospital. After almost a day in A&E he was transferred to the ward. The same ward as Emma. He had not seen her since she was hospitalised a month earlier. The staff on the ward reminded Emma about her husband and brought him to see her. They held hands. She recognised him. He was pleased to see her. The siblings comforted to see their parents reunited. With all of them in their 60s to have 2 parents for so long is special.

Emma has rallied. Her infection is clearing and she is more cooperative. It doesn't look as if she is ready to say goodbye as predicted and so Joanna is going on her Asian holiday for a well deserved break. Her siblings will be with her parents. The plan is for Henry to return to the care home. The plan for Emma is unknown, but it does look as if she will return to the ward she was on before with the 5 who have no visitors. What a tale Joanna and Emma will have for them!     As Joanna said
 " You couldn't make it up"