Patricia has been married to Thomas for over sixty years and is his full-time carer.
Thomas has vascular dementia and has no memory of people from the past. Added to this, in the last year Thomas has had a couple of falls as a result of not using his walking frame. Thomas also suffers with swollen, heavy legs.
After Thomas’ last fall and a stay in hospital, Occupational Therapists ordered various bits of equipment to make life easier for him and to reduce the chances of him falling. These included a bed that can be moved up and down, a new chair and a commode. Although these items have all been very helpful for keeping Thomas safe, their arrival wasn’t without disruption to Patricia as she had to remove lots of furniture to accommodate them.
Patricia is in charge of cooking, cleaning and supporting Thomas when he gets up at regular intervals during the night. She describes the hardest part of her caring role as the exhaustion not only from Thomas’ frequent nightly wake-ups but also from having to lift his legs up for him.
Patricia has paid carers in at points throughout the day to help with Thomas’ care needs; one comes in the morning to help wash him and dress him, one pops over briefly around midday and one helps with putting Thomas to bed at night. Patricia is also supported by family members who help her with food shopping.
The coronavirus lockdown has affected both Patricia and Thomas’ lives. Pre-lockdown, Thomas had been attending a local day centre which offered Patricia a chance to catch up on things around the home. Thomas’ mood always seems more positive after he had been to the day centre too. Luckily, Thomas’ carers have still been able to attend the house. However, Patricia has health problems of her own and usually has someone in to help with the vacuuming. With lockdown, this had to stop so Patricia has been struggling with this on her own.
If you have been affected by Patricia’s story and would like to talk about your unpaid caring role, please get in touch with one of the team on 0800 368 8349 or firstname.lastname@example.org