Dementia - a daughter's story

Published: 29/08/2017

More people than ever before are being diagnosed with Alzheimer's and Dementia.  It's a progressive and terrible disease, affecting poeple in many different ways. Here's Shannon's story - a moving account of how she lost her mum, and her mum lost everything she ever knew....

One of the things we're very aware of is how Alzheimer's and dementia affects the families of those living with it.  Watching a close family member - a much loved parent or grandparent - deteriorate is stressful, worrying and heart-breaking.  Unsuprisingly, many find it hard to cope.  

Here at Bluebird Care, we ensure our Customers and their family are supported in the best way possible and in the comfort of their own home. Our specialist Dementia training provides the tools for our Care Assistants to ensure they provide safe and consistent care to our customers affected by dementia and Alzheimer's.  Our personalised care plans which look at the interaction and engagement needs of our Customer, using technology such as RemindMeCare,  making sure we are second to none in making our customers lives as comfortable and independent as possible. 

Here's Shannon's story - a moving account of how dementia has affected her mum - and how specialist care by Bluebird Care has helped her and her mum. 

How could she forget ME?

" "Mum it's me, hi, mum.... It's me, Shannon."  I smile at mum, a big encouraging smile, like you give to children when they're telling you a story for the first time.  I hold her hand and gently rub it, egging her on to say something. As the silence between us grows, I try to stay positive and really fight the overwhelming feeling of losing hope.  This is it, she's forgotten me.  How can I help her remember? How could she forget ME? What do I do? Is she aware she's forgotten me? She's never going to smile and talk to me the way she used to.  So many thoughts, questions and emotions went through me at once as I look on at mum. I try again, and repeat my name slowly, reminding mum who I am to her.  I don't think anybody knows how hurtful it is knowing your parent has forgetten you.  I hope that by recalling the name Shannon she must have called out millions of times she will remember something, but her gaze moves away slowly, back to the TV. 

Waiting and seeing.... 

Mum has advanced stages of dementia.  She was diagnosed five years ago.  Her consultant was wonderful, he really supported us and took his time to ensure we understood what her diagnosis is and what it meant for us as her family and what to expect.  He explained that dementia is a progressive disease and there were a lot of ways it could affect mum. There was no way of knowing how it would affect her - we just had to wait and see.  Although he went through the motions, explaining everything we needed to know and tried to make us feel somewhat positive about this, we left the consultation in utter despair.  The honest truth is, nothing, absolutely nothing could prepare us for what lay ahead.

I remember thinking, are we strong enough to help her?

The most unfathomable part for me was that we won't be given any signals of what was next and it wouldn't be a sudden change or happen overnight.  Its progressive. A slow demise. A long, cruel and unbearable road to nothingness. Mum would lose her identity, her life, herself. A life forever lived, forever forgotten. And there was nothing we could do to help. 

Just being her daughter again....

It started off by mum forgetting simple things like names of people and becoming slightly confused in her day to day routine. She always laughed it off and so did we, jokingly blaming her "old age."  Then she couldn't string sentences together and we saw a slight change in her mood, dark, anxious, afraid. This was when we took her to the consultant.  Later as the dementia progressed, our vivacious, sociable and happy mum became a living nightmare on legs. She'd run out of the house, throw things at us, became withdrawn and could spend hours sitting by the garden door, crying, screaming.... the full works.

Up until then, we were coping alone as a family, but now was the time we knew we needed to introduce some help - for her and us - and we approached Bluebird Care.  Thankfully three years on, things are going really well and mum is receiving the consistent and professional care she needs. Her carers are absolutely delightful and really have helped mum live an independent and valuable life at home.

I visit her every day and I can't tell you how nice it is to have her carers there so I can just concentrate on being her daughter."

More than care

Working with people living with Alzheimer's and Dementia is very much part of what we do at Bluebird Care. We work closely with the families of our Customers as well as our Customers themselves, lightening their load at such a difficult time. Learn more about Bluebird Care's specialist Dementia Services or call us today for an informal chat about how we can help you on 0208 677 6665