Neens' Alzheimer's journey
Back in 2008 my beloved Dad (known to me as DaddyKins) was diagnosed with memory impairment. We both knew from that moment what the inevitable would be. We quickly changed parts of his lifestyle to try and delay the process. We changed his diet, to include more oily fish and nuts etc, bought lots more crossword, sudoko and quiz books and also moved Dad closer to me.
In 2013 Dad was diagnosed with Alzheimers.
It's true what they say when you love a person who has any form of dementia "You grieve for the person whilst they're still alive." Does that make it easier when they finally pass away? I think for me personally yes,... but I'll cover that in a separate post.
I managed to keep my Dad living in his home for 12 years, with the help of technology which included... cameras, trackers, key finders, day clocks, night clocks, medication reminders, easy use dementia music players to name a few.
In December 2019 Dad had a sickness bug and was admitted to hospital. He bounced back but then sadly in early January 2020, Dad then got a chest infection and was admitted to hospital once again. I had always said that as long as my dad was healthy, happy and safe he could remain at home. However, after 3 admissions to hospital Dad never came back to the level that he was at previously and so for me the "healthy and safe" elements had gone.
In January 2020 I moved my Daddykins in to a care home... a 5 minute drive from my home. On the day of the move I told him when I collected him "Come on Dad we're going on holiday... we're off to Butlins for older folk" He was excited but I was riddled with guilt!!! The move went well, he never mentioned going home and he settled in very quickly. I was visiting him every day after I'd finish work at 5pm and wouldn't leave until around 8pm as I loved it there so much. Spreading a bit of fun and joy to the other residents... not just me, Dad too... it was a bit like 'our stage'.
March 2020 - Lockdown!!!
"What? Uh? But? I can't leave my DaddyKins in the care home alone. He's only been there 2 months. I'll do anything, clean, entertain, reception work, even cook and I'm useless at cooking"
Five weeks passed of doing video calls with Dad and in that time I had spoken with CARE UK HQ to suggest I volunteer there. I had a couple of interviews, some online tests and DBS check and then on the sixth week I got a call to say... "We'd like you to start volunteering at the care home." And that's exactly what I did.
A local BBC radio station heard that I was volunteering in the area and asked if I'd do a quick interview to discuss my volunteering during the pandemic. "Of course, if it inspires others to do the same then there's nothing to lose."
The next day, it was on BBC News and it went crazy, from talking on BBC Radio 2 with Jeremy Vine, to Sky News, This Morning and not just national but international news. I LOVED how this was highlighting our Alzheimers journey together and proving that if you have "LOVE" you can truly overcome anything.
Sadly in January 2021 my beloved Daddykins passed away.
I am so very grateful that the last year of his life, we spent so much together when so many others were not able to. We made the greatest of memories together and he died in my arms.
I documented our story on Instagram for two years, so if you'd like to learn more about how to deal with this disease I share ways of laughing together, handy gadgets, and just general fun that can be had when faced with such a shit situation then head over to our Rants and Big Pants Instagram page and check out 'story highlights' 1.Alzheimers through to 11.Alzheimers to meet my Dad... aka...Daddykins/Roger/Legend!
I will always continue to talk about Alzheimers to help others who are just embarking on this journey. So be sure to check out the Alzheimers part of our blog and also keep up to date with the lives I do on IGTV (Instagram TV) under the heading "Alzheimers & Dementia" and also "Dementia In Our Shoes"