Christine's story

Christine has been a carer for her husband for many years. In the last 12 months, she has become a full-time carer and is supporting her husband 24/7.

“I have been a care for my husband for a long time but not always full-time. My husband has been going blind for many years, but now he is blind. He has had a back problem that impacts his mobility. 12 months ago, my husband was diagnosed with dementia.

As my husband is blind and has dementia, he is very confused and disorientated. He needs to be guided at all times. He needs help to get dressed in the mornings, to find the food on his plate, to put toothpaste on the toothbrush and to find his way around the house.

I have to be his eyes and ears at all times. I cannot leave the house because I cannot leave my husband alone. I was getting two hours of respite, but this has been stopped since the Coronavirus.

Patience and understanding, according to Christine, are important when looking after someone with sight loss and dementia. “In the beginning you think ‘you can do this’ and get angry when they can’t. But now when I look back I ask myself why was I cross at that?”

The most frustrating thing about caring for my husband is that there is no advice on how to care for someone who is both blind and has dementia. It is all unknown.

When I can, I try to do some things for myself. I enjoy cooking and making tapestry cushions. My favourite hobby is gardening, but at the moment this is difficult to do. My husband is calling me constantly to help him so I can only manage 10 minutes at a time.

I feel that caring has made me more able to cope with life. I have become more resilient and able to cope in a crisis.

My advice to other carers just starting out with their caring role it to

  • Talk to other people
  • Do not deal with it on your own
  • Make use of Carers in Bedfordshire services by attending groups and applying for an NHS Carers Grant.
  • Contact Social Services as they can be very helpful.