George has been married to Ann for almost 57 years. Problems first started to appear when Ann had to take early retirement, some twenty years ago, from being a Midwifery Sister due to back problems which were beginning to affect her mobility.

Just over fifteen years ago Ann had a serious heart episode that left her with atrial fibrillation, at that time controlled by medication. However, also around this time George noted some other changes relating to Ann’s memory and forgetfulness. In one instance while out alone (as George was in hospital having an angiogram), Ann became completely disoriented and required help to return home.

Following this, Ann was later diagnosed as having vascular dementia and possibly a non-diagnosed stroke. Ann’s health continued to slowly deteriorate and following another heart episode, which resulted in another period of hospitalisation, Ann was fitted with a pacemaker to control the atrial fibrillation.

Just over three years ago, Ann had to have part of the large bowel removed (colostomy) and now has to use a pouch for her faeces, which George also manages. Due to this there are some dietary requirements which are also not helped as Ann has now been diagnosed as Type 2 diabetic.

With the current Covid-19 pandemic, Ann is considered a vulnerable person and is under self-isolation (or shielding) for 12 weeks. This has impinged on George, who used to do the shopping twice a week, as he also tries to self-isolate with Ann. George now only goes out once a week.

The Covid-19 situation also means that there is no day care or respite care available and coping with a person with dementia can be both trying and tiring, although George is making the best of it whilst looking after the home. However, a problem recently arose with the requirement for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), namely gloves, for use when changing Ann’s stoma pouch. These have been virtually unobtainable and in one instance when trying to place an order; the supplier quoted a delivery in November 2020!

With the help of Carer Support Dorset (who contacted Dorset Council on his behalf) George has been promised a supply in the next couple of days, so problem solved.

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