Today marked a turning point for us as a family. Mum is in the later stages of Alzheimer’s and we finally had to move her to a residential care home. Dad is 80 and not physically capable of looking after mum anymore. She can no longer do anything for herself including standing up, feeding herself or making decisions of any kind. Dad is emotionally exhausted and cries constantly.
The decision wasn’t taken lightly and was difficult to implement but had to be done. The home is clean and comfortable, the staff friendly and efficient but I wasn’t quite ready to be discussing ‘Do not resuscitate’ orders alongside giving permission for a ‘ safety gate’ to be applied to her room.
My brother and I struggled to hold it together whilst dad cried, mum became agitated and asked to be taken home, other residents wandered, shouted, played with dolls, argued – the whole of life is here.
I saw suffering last week in Kakuma refugee camp, I saw suffering this morning in a dementia care unit in Barnsley. Everyone has their pain – remember that and be kind to people, do what you can. My grandmother always said ‘A little bit of help is worth a lot of pity.’ Do what you can to make life easier for others, sometimes your help is the one thing that will make a difference to another person.