Mum has Alzheimer’s.
She has been diagnosed for around two years, and over that time we have been watching a slow deterioration in her memory. This has been particularly hard from Dad, who in his mid 80s has been flung into the role of carer. This is not a position which he easily fits into. Dad has been cared for all his life. From living with his parents, being in the army, and living with Mum for over 60 years he has always been cared for. He has hardly ever had to cook, living with Mum he didn’t need to.
Over the last two years Mum has slowly got worse, sometimes she stays the same without deterioration for weeks at a time, other times a visit only a week later and it is surprising how much she has changed. Then there are good days and bad days, I can see her on a Saturday and everything is fine, then by Wednesday Dad is struggling to care for her, then a couple of days later all is well again. But Dad is learning to cope. Until mum’s next deterioration, then he has to learn all over again.
But there is help. Mum goes to a day care centre two days a week, which is about to become three days. As well as helping Mum, she is enjoying this, it gives Dad some much needed rest from having to look after Mum 24 hours a day.
But she’s still mum.