Rose has been a carer to her husband Peter for 12 years. Peter has vascular dementia with cognitive impairment and has been gradually declining over the years. Although Rose no longer lives with Peter, she lives very close by and is his main carer.
Before lockdown was brought in, Rose would go out with Peter five days a week. They would often go out for lunch or take day trips to local National Trust properties. They’d also go food shopping together and Rose would help Peter with paying at the tills.
Rose was also very heavily involved in a local charity, which she set up, which helped people go on day trips together and reduced isolation. This used to take them across Dorset and further afield, with Peter often accompanying her on the trips. Unfortunately, due to ill health of various people in the organisation and the onslaught of lockdown, this charity has recently been disbanded.
The effects lockdown has had on Rose and Peter
Lockdown has been an increasingly hard time for both Rose and Peter. Peter has really struggled to understand the severity of the situation and has been going out when he should be shielding. It’s a big worry for Rose as she has her own health concerns and is also supposed to be shielding.
Lockdown has also meant that Peter’s paid carers have stopped coming to the house as they are self-isolating. They would usually help him with his foot care, keeping on top of the vacuuming and make him sandwiches.
Thankfully Age UK have worked with Rose and Peter to do their food shopping although Rose is concerned that Peter isn’t eating cooked meals as he would have done prior to lockdown. Peter also isn’t able to attend the things that give him pleasure, such as the Singing for the Brain and day trips.
How caring makes Rose feel
Rose has been a carer for a long time now. At the start of caring, she found going on courses run by the NHS on dementia helped her to gain a greater understanding of his condition and how it affects people. These courses were really beneficial.
Rather than focussing on what Peter can’t do, Rose has a mantra of accentuating the positive and eliminating the negative. She tries to focus on what Peter can still do and will help him focus on his hobbies of gardening and classic cars.
Caring hasn’t been an easy role for sure though, Rose’s mental health has been impacted and she has suffered with depression and anxiety as a result. Describing how their relationship has changed Rose comments:
The person you married and loved is not that person anymore, but it’s not their fault.
A top tip from Rose
Is to sort out lasting power of attorney early on. Rose and Peter did this early on via Age UK. This has helped Rose massively with her caring role as has enabled her to be able to speak to Peter’s GP about his condition and be fully consulted along the way.