Ameera is a carer
My family has been in the UK now for nearly twenty years but until recently we have never needed any support so when my mum developed Dementia last year I really didn’t know what to do. At first I thought she was just becoming forgetful but she’s only sixty-two and it was getting worse quite quickly. It was difficult to convince her but I managed to get her to visit the GP and the diagnosis of dementia was quite frightening. I read the information the GP gave us and we made the decision to move mum in with us to care for her. She was very good in the beginning and understood she needed some help. My husband and I have three children so it was quite a full household already. We turned the front room into mum’s bedroom so that she could get to the bathroom and the kitchen quickly but as her condition progressed her behaviour worsened and caring for her took up more and more of my time. We explained it the the children, who are all in their teens and they have been excellent but all of them became withdrawn over the following months, retreating to their bedrooms. The atmosphere in the house was very tense. Mum started to get confused and distressed and began wandering at night. Twice I found her in the back garden, having failed to get out of the front door. She was freezing cold. I soon found that I couldn’t leave her alone for any length of time without worrying that she would hurt herself or disappear. It was at my local pharmacy that I picked up a leaflet for Richmond Carers Centre and I called them as soon as I got home. It was such a relief to speak to someone that I broke down in tears. The Carers Support Worker was very patient with me and helped me to describe the situation. She made a referral to Social Services and sent me some information about other local support in the borough. Following an appointment with social services mum has now been moved into a nursing home near to our house and we visit her there every week. I have registered with Richmond Carers Centre and have started attending their floral design group, which gives me some time each month just for myself. The experience has left me feeling very guilty and isolated. I have lots of mixed emotions about family responsibility and failure but I have had a number of one-to-one sessions with a Carers Support Worker, which has helped me to understand the situation better and I am due to receive some counselling sessions soon. It has been a traumatic journey to this point and it frightens me that I really had no idea where to find help. I am so grateful to Richmond Carers Centre for all their support.