Here is a chance to read all about Tony's experience of caring for his wife Angela who has Alzheimer's Disease and now lives in a residential care home. Tony (as pictured on the left) gives insight into his journey as a carer and what support helped him the most.
A Carers Story: Being a carer for my wife.
Five years ago, Angela started doing funny things around the house, she would make me a cup of tea and then ask me again and again if I wanted one, she would forget how to use the washing machine and be asking me how it works. We went to our doctors who did some simple tests and said she could have the start of dementia and referred us to Bedford Hospital. They confirmed it was definitely early stages of dementia but as is very common with this condition couldn’t give us any timescales as to how quickly it would progress.
It was during a routine visit to the hospital two years ago that my daughter pointed out the Carers Lounge to me and persuaded me to go in and talk to them. I wasn’t sure but went along and registered anyway. It wasn’t until some time later though that I went along to one of their support groups.”
“It was such a relief to meet others going through exactly the same things as I was.”
“Through my support worker, I went along to a Carers Rest meeting and it was such a relief to meet others going through exactly the same things and having the same uncertainties and worries. At the meetings though we do have a laugh and forget our problems for a while. The staff make the group sessions great fun, I really miss it on the odd occasion I can’t make it. It is truly my ‘me time’ and I look forward to it every month.
I resisted putting Angela in a home for as long as possible, she is my wife and I wanted to look after her myself but her behaviour became such that it really wasn’t possible. I reminded myself it wasn’t her doing these things, just the condition making her do them. She would get up in the night and change the bedsheets and she became quite agitated sometimes. The final straw was on a holiday when she bolted from our villa, completely unaware of what she was doing. She went downhill very quickly over the next three weeks and that’s when we decided she had to go into a home, for her own safety.”
“People need to learn more about Carers in Bedfordshire and Dementia too as is it very complex.”
“Becoming a family carer has been a steep learning curve. The worst thing about it is I have lost the person I married, I would give anything to just get a glimpse of the wife she used to be but I know deep down that will never happen. We have been married for more than 55 years and she is my angel, I will do my utmost to be with her every day for as long as she lives. The best thing about being a carer is that I am in control of making my wife’s life as happy as it can be. I have three wonderful children who support me every step of the way and grandchildren to keep me young!
I would recommend Carers Rest to anyone in my situation, it really does make a difference and Carers in Bedfordshire as a whole is a fantastic organisation which runs services for carers and their families."