Sunday, October 21, 2007

O Bed, Delicious Bed!

O bed! O bed! delicious bed!
That heaven upon earth to the weary head.~
Thomas Hood, Miss Kilmansegg - Her Dream

It has been a week since Mum went into the nursing home. I have been sleeping 10-12 hours a night and having an afternoon nap on weekends as well. I knew I was exhausted but I did not realise the full extent of my tiredness. I can only compare it to when my children were babies, waking up in the night for feeds. But that only lasted a matter of 6-8 weeks, this has lasted a year.

I feel a bit lost now when I am home. It is so long since I have been in the house on my own, or just with my husband. I have not been out anywhere except to work and the movies (with Mum) for the last year. What did I do with free time before I was a carer?

The first day my husband and I were home alone together we both found it very strange. What did we do? We fell asleep in our chairs.

The other thing I have realised is that Mum was a lot worse than I thought. She has needed full time care for a long time and her dementia is progressing rapidly. It is clearer to me now that I am not living with her. I talk to her on the phone each night and she seems to like the place where she is and likes the staff, but she has trouble remembering much or that I have called her the day before.

I am so glad now that she is in care. It is time for me to try and recover my health and my career. I have a heap of medical tests to get done that I have been 'too busy' for and once I stop sleeping so much I want to get back into my work and start enjoying life again.

There is life after caring.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Carers Alliance

Well mum is all settled in and seems to be happy where she is. We have been catching up on a lot of sleep and I think it will take us some time to fully recover from the last 12 months of caring. I know that my health has suffered and I am just plain exhausted.

It is carers week here in Australia and a study was released today showing that carers have the "lowest level of well being of any group in society". 56% of carers in Australia suffer from depression, compared to 6% of the general population. They also suffer financial disadvantage as a result of caring responsibilities. This article is definitely worth reading and I am glad that someone is finally putting some money into research. What we need is more money and services for carers, particularly parents with disabled children.

We are also about to have an election here in Australia and a new party, The Carers Alliance, has formed to try and win seats in the senate. You can join the party for free, I have joined, and they will be getting my vote. Take a look at the site to check out the candidates and their policies.

I have worked for many years as a professional carer, yet 12 months of caring has exhausted me mentally, physically, and financially more than all those years put together. Now is the time for me and my family to try and recuperate, rebuild and then move forward with our lives. Not everyone is as fortunate as me to find a placement so quickly.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Mixed Emotions.

Thanks to Dee for awarding me this Totally Fabulous Award. Dee also pointed me in the direction of a few other Alzheimer's blogs that have been really helpful to me. More about them another day.

It's been really busy preparing for Mum to move. We are all tired exhausted. The whole family is now used to waking up at about 3 am. I get up and start helping mum and cleaning up wet beds and clothes, my family try and go back to sleep. I feel like an automaton most days. I just do things on automatic pilot.

I am so tired I feel like I can't string together two coherent thoughts in a row. I have a mixture of feelings about the move. I am happy that Mum is excited and looking forward to it. I am relieved that she will be safe, loved and well cared for as she becomes more and more dependent.

I am also sad and I will miss her. For a year now it has been like 'me & my shadow'. At times this is very frustrating but I know I will miss her. being here. I am also looking forward to being able to go and walk my dog, or visit friends or use the treadmill again. All things I have not been able to do while Mum live with me. I want to have time for myself again. I feel like life has stood still for me.

I want to sleep past 3-4 am again! I won't miss the huge amounts of washing that incontinence creates. I will miss the constant talking, even though it drives me nuts some days. I will miss the little jokes that Mum makes, even though I hear them over and over and each time I laugh as if I never heard it before.

I will miss drying Mums hair each day after a shower. Every day she laughs and says " you dry it just like mum used to!" in complete amazement. I will miss being introduced to the workers at the Day Care Centre whenever I do to pick Mum up. " Have you met my daughter?" Every time.

I am looking forward to having time for my family again. I could not have done this without them but it certainly has had an affect on us. This has dominated our conversations, our finances, our plans and our relationship for too long now.

So I am a mixture of very tired thoughts and emotions just now. When I read other carers blogs I just cry at the moment. But I am OK and I know I am doing the right thing for both Mum and I. The tears are bittersweet.