Carer Stress: Tips for Taking Care of Yourself

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Update: my dad went into care last year. He was in hospital for a month and we made the decision to have dad go into care full time. It was stressful running around finding suitable places for him. Places were either at full capacity or they had no dementia secure facilities. We were lucky to have a placement available to us. It wasn’t our first choice but it was acceptable for the time being until the place we had our hopes on opened up. Thankfully it did. Moving him into care was a difficult time. I knew it had to be done, because him at home was no good for anyone. We were at breaking point. I felt guilty… I wanted to keep him home and care for him. I feel like I failed him, that I wasn’t strong enough to care for him anymore. I love him but I just could not do it anymore. He was double incontinent, constant wandering, not sleeping- I would be woken up every few hours, his aggression was unpredictable, his gait was slow-shuffling. I was doing 3 loads of washing nearly every day.
Now that he’s been in care for a while now, he’s content. He still wanders around but he’s content. In the beginning I would get calls that dad was agitated or he had a run in with another resident. I still get anxious, when my phone rings and I see the phone number, my stomach drops. I think to myself what now? is it dad?, has he had a fall? Has he had another run in with another resident? My fear would be that if he is constantly showing aggression would he be kicked out? What would happen then? As much as I love him, I just could not care for him. And that sets off the guilts. Now though, now that he is content, when I visit I see a shadow of the man that I know as my dad. This makes me sad. I struggle seeing him like this. He no longer speaks in full sentences, if anything it’s mumbling and no one can make sense of it. I hate seeing him like this…I miss my dad.