I care for my mum who is 95. She has dementia and is doubly incontinent. She lives with me and my partner and has done since 1995 when we extended the house for her to live with us. When she first came to live here it wasn’t as bad, but her needs have gradually increased.
I feel as though I don’t have a life. I need to work because if I retired I wouldn’t be able to cope financially. But I’m nervous about going to work and leaving her on her own. Paid carers have been coming for about a year – they get her up in the morning, wash and dress her, give her breakfast and her medicine. Before we had the carers I was doing everything.
I have several cameras in the house so I can monitor her when I go to work, but I don’t know if they’re helpful or stressful really. I might see her walking by without her walking stick or walking aid and it makes me feel very frustrated.
I had a carers assessment and was able to access a sitting service for 4 hours a week through that. The sitter comes on a Friday, but the trouble is that I can’t go far. I go into Trowbridge and do the food shopping and go for lunch, then come home. It would be nice to have a whole day when I could go somewhere.
I feel really restricted. If I want to go anywhere, I need to make sure I have everything in place so that mum’s cared for.
I feel like I have constant time pressure on me from the time I get home from work to the time I go to bed because the paid carers come to put mum to bed. I have to cook a meal, put the hot water bottle in her bed and have everything ready for then.
I have quite a few phonecalls at work. Work are very good – they know my situation and I have my phone with me. Recently I had a call to say she’d had a fall and I had to rush home.
I can no longer get up in the morning and decide what I want to do. We’ve got friends in Poole and we’d like to go and visit them for the weekend, things like that. People say, it’s nice weather, let’s go to the coast. We can’t do that.
Bills are going up and that adds to the pressure we’re under. I must have the heating on full for mum and the washing machine is on constantly – we don’t get any bill reductions.
I’m very angry, I’m not my usual self. I’ve got no patience. My sewing is the only thing I have patience for. I don’t know where I’d be without my partner, who supports me. I don’t have siblings. I’d love to have more time to do what I like to do. I look forward to my Friday when me and my partner have time for ourselves.
I have a phone call fortnightly from Yvonne, a volunteer for Here to Talk. She’s absolutely lovely and I enjoy speaking to her. We have a shared interest in sewing and quite a friendship going.
I don’t know what the future holds. I haven’t got power of attorney and I can’t make the decision personally for mum to go into a home, even though I feel she’s not safe enough to be at home and I’m under a lot of pressure – physically, mentally, financially – looking after her. I’m nearly 70 and I haven’t got a life. I expect there are plenty of people out there who feel the same way as I do.