Problems faced when caring for someone with Dementia

Guest blog by Rev Eric Lomax
I live in Lincolnshire, and my parents Valerie and Eric Lomax, are elderly, and live on the Wirral. My mother, Valerie has been steadily declining with Alzheimer’s, for the lat two years, and this has made life very difficult for my father. She would stand at the window and stare out at people, and then demand to go out, looking for her family. Often she would hit my father, while he was driving the car, even on the motorway, and demand that he stop the car. Alternatively, she would get out the passenger side at traffic lights, or bang on the window of other cars. This was dangerous, and I saw  a steady decline in his health as a result of this.
For him, there was constant anxiety over what care would cost, and the fear that he would lose the money he had invested in his home. There was a real lack of information out there, and when I eventually persuaded him to seek advice, institutions would randomly use terms like ‘you will have to pay for her,’ without qualifying that, or explaining what this meant. For this reason, he resolved to struggle on.

I persuaded my dad to talk to Age UK. Age UK gave him the wrong advice and helped him to fill in a form for carers allowance, which was, of course, the wrong benefit. The form was bewilderingly complex, particularly because it used the term ‘you,’ instead of ‘her,’ so he had to unpick who he was writing about.
Three months later he received a letter saying that he was not entitled to this benefit, which upset him deeply. I explained to him that Age UK had helped him apply for the wrong benefit, and I, therefore, helped him apply for attendance allowance, which some time later, he was granted.
Just before Christmas I notified social services that neither of my parents were safe, and they needed to place her in long term care. They took her to a care home in Wallasey, without an assessment. Three hours later, she was taken, unconscious to a hospital after getting into a ‘tussle,’ with a member of staff. In the hospital, something similar happened and she was sectioned and taken to another hospital ward, called Meadowcroft. This had  mostly male patients, which led to a complete lack of dignity for my mother.
While she was in Meadowcroft, my father received a bill for £18, from the local authority, for the care she received at the first home. I instructed him not to pay, because she hadn’t received any care. I phoned the local authority and raised a safeguarding issue over it. Adult social services began an investigation over this, but have yet to issue a report.
While at Meadowcroft, my mother broke her hip, and had to have an operation for a replacement hip. Last week, she at last, was placed in a more stable care home on the Wirral. My dad has received a number of bewildering forms over financial assessments. Several of them were inappropriate forms, and my dad placed them in a safe place, refusing to ignore them. The tone of some of the letters have been quite threatening. I live one hundred and forty miles from him, and the train fares are expensive from East to West, so I can only get down there once a month. When I go down there, I make a point of asking what the forms are, and I fill them in for him. Hopefully, now things can be resolved.
I have a sister who lives in Birmingham, and quite often she gives him inappropriate advice, particularly over finances.
I have found that there have been a number of issues over lack of care, and departments which have failed to communicate effectively with my dad. Even though my mum is in care now, communication is still poor, and his health has suffered dramatically over his.