Monthly Archives: August 2012

Droitwich medical practices join forces to host carers day

THREE medical practices in Droitwich will be joining forces to host a carers day during the town’s Salt Day celebrations on Saturday, September 15.

8:00am Thursday 30th August 2012 in Droitwich News

The Corbett, The Spa and The Salters Medical Practices Patient Participation Groups are bringing together various professional and charitable organisations for the event.

It will take place on Saturday, September 15, at the Baptist Church Hall in Ombersley Street between 10am-4pm.

Arlene Phillips: Caring for my father with dementia was extremely difficult

Choreographer Arlene Phillips, 69, is best known for being a judge on Strictly Come Dancing. She cared for her father, Abraham, when he developed dementia in his late seventies.

 Arlene Phillips is promoting Bupa’s online dementia hub

The first sign that my father was  suffering from dementia came when he started getting lost. He’d arrive at my door – I only lived ten minutes away – and he’d say: ‘I can’t find my front door.’ I put my phone number in every suit he had. Occasionally, someone would phone and say: ‘Your father wants to know how to get home.’ One day, he had a pan on the cooker with a tin inside – if I hadn’t visited it would have exploded.

There were more signs things weren’t right. He’d forgotten how to cook so I’d take meals to him. He’d say things had been stolen. I’d say they weren’t, he just couldn’t find them. The council sent a visitor but he wouldn’t let them in – he was paranoid about who they were and why they were there.

It started in the early 1990s when he was in his late seventies and went on until he passed away in 2000. I was a single mother raising my daughter and looking after my father at the same time. It was extremely difficult.  I thought I could be Superwoman and look after him, my daughter and do my job but it wasn’t the case. I’d see him in the morning before I went to work. I’d make sure he had a lunch delivered then, in my break at 5pm, I’d make him a meal before going back to the theatre where I was choreographing a musical, finishing at 11pm. I was exhausted and felt I wasn’t doing the best for him.

I visited one day, he had the gas hob on, reached for something and set his sleeve on fire. We bashed the flames out but that was the point I realised this couldn’t go on and had to find him a care home. Even then I’d visit every day so he wouldn’t feel abandoned.

His illness was a gradual process. He said it was like going into a tunnel and the further he got down it the more he left something of himself behind. It was extremely distressing because I couldn’t give him back what he’d lost. As it went on, it began to affect him physically. It was as if he’d forgotten how to use his hands. He read lots of books, poetry and the Guardian cover to cover. He stopped. I would read to him but eventually he didn’t like that either because he couldn’t make sense of the words.

 Arlene cared for her father when he developed dementia

Tips on caring for people with dementia

Guest blog by  Jason Tucker

 

When it comes to caring for people with dementia, quality of life is paramount. There’s no two ways about it, the most important thing is that they are treated with respect and dignity. Wouldn’t you expect the same? People with dementia do require an elevated standard of care, and while it can be tiresome, it’s crucial that they are extended the courtesies and pleasantries you’d give to anyone else.

Firstly, leave all your stress at the door. While the behaviour of those with dementia can be confusing, try and keep your patience in check at all times. It’s not helpful to get wound up and it only serves to break down the relationship of trust you might have built up with the person you’re caring for.

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