My lovely, kind, gentle and caring Mum has been diagnosed with dementia which started shortly after my Dad died in 2012. My husband walked out in 2013 leaving me to support my two children and I had a heart attack in 2014 due to stress. It has been a stressful time for the family, but now.............
My Mum is now nearly 93 years young and still lives in the family home, over 65 years, her first and only home during her long marriage managing 59 years, 1 month short of 60 years, they were planning a party when Dad died.
Mum was in the Land Army and loves to tell her stories of the hardships endured during the war years, she liked to visit her old haunts and the farm she was billeted at. I used to take her out and these visits kept her energised, talking about her memories, walking round National Trust homes and she said she wanted to make the most of her last years after looking after my Dad for years with heart failure. Mum has always been caring and helping other people who needed her help. She was a nurse, and because of high antibodies she used to treat TB patients, but left the profession when she didn't agree with the way patients were being treated.
Mum has always believed in natural healing, alternative treatments, herbs, vitamins and minerals, homeopathy, naturopathy and accupuncture. She said that the old ways are best and don't have side effects that drugs do. Her Mother taught her the same principles. My Mum has bought me health books, given me her old health books. Mum still believes that drugs have their place but to try natural ways first, if they fail then drugs should be taken as a last resort. Mum still has an account with supplements suppliers.
My brother who believes whole heartedly in taking drugs and says that supplements are voodoo and black magic he has always been at odds with Mum and her advice on what to take if he had a cold or flu. Even arguing that being in bed for 3 weeks with a heavy cold was the bodies way of dealing with it. My Mum has not had a cold, flu or any bug for many many years. At the first sign out comes the remedy. Due to my brother's ignorance, he stopped Mum paying for supplements she was taking to help her memory issues and I had to carry on supporting my Mum and giving her supplements, researching each and every supplement. If Mum didn't take them she would get confused, and generally have a down day. My brother says when she has a down day but it always coincides when she hasn't taken them. Mum takes no drugs except levothyroxine for hypothyroidism. Mum had high blood calcium and hyperparathyroidism, I took her to a naturopath who advised Mum to take nettle tea and 6 weeks later her hyperparathyroidism levels were totally normal and her calcium levels were just at the top end of normal.
I visit Mum 6 days a week driving 11 miles to my Mum's home. I give Mum a nutritious lunch, have a chat, talk about family and past events, I take her for a 30 minute walk, clean, garden and shop for my Mum. I pay for all the food, the consumables and my fuel without payment.
I have now come to a point where I cannot support my Mum anymore, she is needing clothes as she has gone from a size 20 to size 12/14. Her shoes which I bought for her now have holes in the soles, I cannot afford the fuel to visit Mum anymore or buy her food. When we have been going out she has wanted to treat me to a meal out and I have pretended that she has paid for it which makes her very happy. I took her to Warners in 2014 just after I had a heart attack due to stress. She so enjoyed it and wanted to go back there. It breaks my heart to keep telling her every day that she can't go out, that I can't visit. Because Mum was diagnosed with dementia it has now gone to the court of protection who have frozen her money. Mum wasn't well last year after refusing to get out of bed for months on end and in the end she got so weak she fell. I have got her better and stronger and Mum said that she wanted to enjoy this summer. And now she has no money. She can think for herself, has a few off days, can hold decent conversations and still has her opinions but her short term memory isn't good, some days she repeats herself whereas other days she appears very normal.
This is Mum with my daughter, she loves looking round the shops during the winter, it keeps her warm and she gets out and has some exercise.
Mum deserves better than to sit by her window alone, she looks so sad and when she sees me her face lights up as you can see in this photo.
We love Mum dearly and this is difficult to do but I am now desperate to give my Mum happiness in her last few years. I need to buy supplements as she is running out, her shoes let in water, she needs a haircut and she is due a visit to the naturopath. I had to pay privately for an endocrinologist as she was on the NHS waiting list, and still is after 2 years! She is also due a checkup.
It would be lovely to give her the supplements she needs, take her shopping for clothes that fit, visit her or have the taxi fare for her to visit me, even taking Mum on holiday to Warners would be amazing. I took her to Sinah Warren in 2014, she loved the evening entertainment, we played croquet, walked along the harbour, visited our holiday haunts in the New Forest which she remembered, walked along the sands reminiscing about her life, bird watching, eating fish and chips on the beach.
I know we all have our battles in life but now my battle with finances is impacting my Mum and I am at a loss as to how I can help Mum get her life back. It seems all the money she does have is being kept away from her in case she needs a care home, why can't she enjoy her time left and while her memory is still able to take in life's little pleasures.
I feel very emotional about this and know it is happening to a lot of people, I feel angry that I have had to resort to asking for money, and that I am letting my Mum down. But I just can't stand by and let her remaining days of compos mentis be spent sitting in a chair alone with her thoughts.
I expect you to say that money can be given to better causes and I quite understand but to me Mum is my cause for appealing for help. I so appreciate you reading our story, dementia can affect us all either directly or indirectly, its a slow death which takes our lovely families away from us and I will do anything for my Mum like she has done for me.
Thank you x