Paul cares for his wife, Mandy, who has Parkinson’s disease and dementia. Paul has been Mandy’s carer since they moved to Dorset in 2004.
Mandy has good days and bad days but Paul helps her with a multitude of tasks each day including dressing and washing Mandy and giving her medication as it is required. As well as this, Paul does all of the cooking and shopping and the majority of the cleaning.
Mandy had a replacement hip several years ago but needs her other side doing as well as a knee replacement. As a result of this, Mandy can only walk a few steps and is in a wheelchair for the majority of the time. Thankfully, the couple live in a bungalow and with the help of some aids such as a door ramp and various equipment to help move Mandy, the couple are able to get by.
Mandy like familiarity, it is part of her condition. A week’s stay in hospital last year was particularly challenging for both Mandy and Paul.
Power of Attorney status
Paul has faced difficulties with his Power of Attorney status and ensuring that Mandy gets the best possible care that she can. Mandy was a lot more settled once she was back from hospital. However, the couple’s local community hospital has been a great support to them both since being discharged. At this point, Paul was encouraged to get a new, electric bed to help with lifting Mandy in and out of bed.
A point of advice that Paul has for people caring for someone is to sort out the Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare as well as Finances and Property, it should then cover the carer for every eventuality.
Unfortunately, one of the side-effects of Mandy’s medication is hallucinations. Mandy will often ‘see’ people within their house who aren’t there. This can be challenging if Paul tells her that they aren’t real as to her they are. Although, that said, he does approach it with a touch of humour to try and lighten the mood especially when Mandy saw a big spider on their living room floor which Paul thought was a hallucination only to be proven wrong!
During the Covid-19 lockdowns, Paul felt well supported. There was a lot of support available locally and the Mental Health Older Persons team that support Mandy were very good at keeping in touch and listening to any concerns he had.
Paul hasn’t been able to get out to join any local support groups and doesn’t feel confident in joining online ones. That said, he has a good support network with their daughter and ‘Zooms’ her and the grandchildren regularly. He does miss the banter with his friends though and all of the sports that he used to enjoy playing.
How Paul copes
Paul employs a carer to come in once a week to help him. This gives him a break to do something he loves, fishing. This is something that he feels he couldn’t manage without as it’s his passion. It also gives him a chance to take his mind of things and chat to others fishing. He has looked into longer respite but feels worried about leaving Mandy for too long as she thrives on the familiarity of having him around.