Sarah cares for her mother who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. In a three-part blog series, she shares her experiences with us. Read the first entry below.
I’m writing this first paragraph after writing down my whole story. I have to start by saying that doing this, being able to put down in writing some of what I feel on a day to day basis and allowing myself to be honest without fear of upsetting the person in front of me – has been one of the most cathartic and stress relieving things I have done.
My name is Sarah, I’m in my 30’s and I care for my mum who has Alzheimer’s disease.
Where my dementia story began
My story really started 4 years ago when my dad passed away quite unexpectedly.
I’d noticed some changes in Mum when I came back home for Christmas to stay with my parents. It’s only then, over a period of days, I noticed a change in my mum’s behaviour and repetition, along with my dad clearly trying to compensate for this.
I spoke to him about it and he agreed he would try and get her to the doctors after Christmas to get her checked over.
We never managed this as he fell ill shortly after and passed away.
Whilst in hospital, I made a promise to him that I would look after her. He was concerned that he wouldn’t be able to cope when he came home – but now I think he may have had an inkling that he wouldn’t.
Moving back home
I’ve always been very close to my mum and we have a great relationship so it really was a simple decision that I would move back up from London and move in with her, knowing full well she would struggle with the grief of losing dad and coupled with the fact that she may not be able to manage independently.
So this is what I did.
It was actually a really easy decision as I had no family commitments, only rented in London and I could commute to my job fairly easily. Both of my siblings were settled with partners so I felt it was my role.
My friends thought I was mad, and some of my family in fact probably thought it was complete overkill and wouldn’t be a good thing for mum long term but I knew it’s what I needed to do given the changes I’d seen in her.
And I had a promise to keep which I probably didn’t even portray as one of my reasons at the time.
Receiving a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease
Mum was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease shortly after in 2013.
The last 4 years have become progressively more challenging, as expected. I had to sacrifice a great career, my home, independence and numerous other things to move back home but it was the right path to take.
Seeing first hand how difficult mum was finding things, I just became fixated on her happiness and wellbeing as she deserves that more than anyone I know.
She is the most lovely lady, to anyone that knows her and after giving up her life to raising me and my siblings, the least I can do is return the favour and ensure she has something to live for. She does not deserve Alzheimer’s and she couldn’t be more loving or grateful for the help.
To be continued…
Read the second part of Sarah’s story. Hear about life as a carer and the adjustments she made once her mother was diagnosed.
If you need support and advice after receiving a dementia diagnosis, you can call our National Dementia Helpline on 0300 22 11 22.