Today I read a letter, written and sent by the wife and carer of a gentleman living with dementia, to a national newspaper. The full range of emotions expressed by her made me feel compelled to comment not least because they are undoubtedly shared by so many spouses the length and breadth of the country.
Namely; love, compassion, exhaustion, frustration, resentment, anger and guilt.
The writer is supported by visiting carers four times per day, has received counselling and been offered “time out” and considers herself to be “better off than many people” but after 15 years she feels she is coping badly.
She is as mindful of her daughter’s right to live the life she has created for herself as she is of her husband’s wish not be cared for in a care home and there in lie her feelings of despair.
The response her letter was given by the columnist was equally compelling. She describes humanity, goodness and selflessness but also delivers a compassionate reminder of just how important it is to accept help offered by close relatives for that close relative’s sake as well for the health and wellbeing of the care giver. She also points out that there often comes a time when 24 hour care provided by experienced and trained professionals is the right care option.
I couldn’t agree more. The message is clear – if you find yourself in this situation do not be too quick to turn down additional support or close your eyes to alternative care options. You are, after all, only human and a promise made based on historic facts may well need to be revisited in the best interests of the person in need of care.