Earlier this week I was visited by Katie Dixon, an Admiral Nurse working with the South West Yorkshire NHS Trust. I really should have ‘Googled’ Katie before she arrived – it seems that she’s a bit of a star.
She certainly was for me.
The visit was made to discuss my needs with regard to the support I am trying to give my parents. She asked me to tell her about my mum and about my dad, mum’s main carer. What kind of woman was my mum before Alzheimer’s? What is she like now? That’s quite a cathartic exercise I can tell you.
How was my dad coping? Ok – ish. But he’s 90 next month and needs support whilst he looks after my mum – pretty much full time now.
We then discussed the various services that are available: Those which we HAD accessed and those which we had NOT YET accessed. She advised us to start the ball rolling with a Carer’s Assessment, something we’d looked at before but dismissed for the moment, as there is a 6 month waiting list. She also gently urged me to try and get my dad to consider paying for my mum to have a few hours of care per week as this would help to prepare mum for the extra free four hours care that could/should come once the assessment is made. The care provided by outside agencies should/could help us to halt the ever decreasing world-view that mum has just now.
We also discussed a number of other topics including finance and how funding might be judged at some time in the future. Diet. Mum is losing weight and body mass quite rapidly now and Katie suggested that a return to full fat products, butter etc. is often recommended for dementia patients. However, mum is diabetic and dad is fighting cholesterol with diet – so a visit to the doctors to request a visit from a diabetic nurse was suggested. There were other, more mum-centric personal matters discussed, which have now been passed on to my dad.