A little while ago Peter had a fall and was admitted to hospital. Physically he recovered well and they sent him home after a week. I noticed soon after though that he was getting stressed easily and had trouble reading the paper. He also got very upset if I had to go out even if it was just up to the shops.
My daughter suggested we get an assessment and ultimately he was diagnosed with dementia. I think I had known all along. Peter is a bit older than me and I was finding that I was starting to lose track of my own life. I’m used to being independent.
One of the people at my exercise class gave me the number for Carer Services and I phoned them. A woman came and sat with me and told me about the sorts of things we could do so that I can have a break from Peter and he can have one from me!
He goes on outings once a week now. He really enjoys the company and they pick him up from the house in a mini-bus. It means I can get so much done. Or I can just sit in the garden and read quietly if I want to. It makes a real difference.
Recently, Peter stayed at a house on the Peninsula for the weekend. He was fine and will be happy to go again. I’m thinking about going to Sydney for my granddaughter’s 21st in a couple of months and it is comforting to know that Peter will be OK and cared for while I am gone. I am also considering doing a Creative Ways to Care course through Carer Services which is specifically for carers of people with dementia.
Life has changed, that’s for sure. Naturally, I wish this hadn’t happened to Peter but some days he is not too bad and I am pleased that I can keep him living at home with me.
We asked Maria to summarise how using Carer Services helped:
I wouldn’t have known where to start looking for help but the staff at
Carer Services are really knowledgeable
The weekly outings they helped me to arrange are a great break in the middle of each week for both Peter and myself
The chance to learn more about dementia and go to the free carer
workshops as things progress is good too
I can plan ahead
I know where else I can go for assistance if I need to.