I didn’t realise at the time but once Maureen was diagnosed with dementia my status changed. I walked into the Memory Clinic as a husband: I walked out as a care partner. Perhaps that was one of the things the Consultant meant when he said : ‘You need to accept your new reality’.
This same point has also been made by the counsellor at our Medical Centre. Never one to shy away from the realities of life, Paul said something along the lines of: ‘ You need to accept that you are now Maureen’s carer; rather than her husband’. He makes the point that interaction is never the same once your role changes from husband to carer. It has taken me a while to accept this aspect of the new reality.
As I said in my post yesterday: It’s the Environment Stupid, I have to turn our house into a Care Home. I need to make this place dementia friendly and seek to avoid distress. On duty 24/7 I need to forget about my own needs and think of my wife’s – the cared for one. Fortunately, the prospect of dealing with my own needs is on the horizon.
When I meet our Social Worker on Friday, for a Carers Assessment, I need to explore how to develop ‘me time’. Tired and frustrated care partners cannot deliver the quality of service that their loved ones deserve. It is not easy to achieve a balance in all of this but the opportunity to tip the scales in my favour looms. It is up to me to take it. I am not kidding myself that this will be easy at either the practical or emotional level but I need to make it happen.
There is a simple way of progressing my role as a care partner: to treat it as a professional appointment. I need to work from a job description and have a development plan. This is a framework I am familiar with from my professional career and would fit the bill for what is needed RIGHT NOW. So my way forward is clear – just have to get on with a bit of writing. Guess what my post will be about tomorrow?