Written by Active Minds on Wednesday the 9th of October 2013.
This month, Carer of the Month goes to Suzy Webster, Butterfly Scheme and My Home Life associate, Age UK Expert by Experience, Alzheimer’s Society’s ‘Singing for the Brain‘ Co-facilitator, and ex Social Worker.
Suzy cares for her Mum, Barbara, who was diagnosed with Hydrochaphalus related dementia 3 years ago, along with the help of her father. Suzy lives with both of her parents, her husband, and their two daughters aged 4 and 8 years.
Suzy tweets about her family’s experiences, her Mum, and her life caring for her Mum at https://twitter.com/suzysopenheart
Can you tell us a little bit about you and your Mum before she was diagnosed with dementia?
I have very happy memories of my childhood. Mum was spontaneous, generous and sociable. We had many adventures, lots of time by the sea, great family gatherings and she worked in a cake shop (can’t get better than that!) I’m an only child so we spent lots of time together doing things like playing games and in later years attacking the shops!
What is the most challenging aspect of providing care for your Mum?
The biggest challenge is accepting that I am loosing Mum and the shift in our relationship. She just seems so vulnerable now.
In what ways has your relationship changed over the last year?
When I find myself encouraging Mum to eat her greens or encouraging her to use the toilet before we go out, I remember Mum telling me to do those things. We still laugh a lot together but sometimes the things that were guaranteed to make her laugh simply pass her by now. I have to make decisions about Mum’s care, when she used to be the person I would ask to help me with decisions!
How supported do you feel by the social care system in this country?
In my experience there is a lack of family centred flexible support for those who live with dementia.
What are your favourite activities to do with your Mum that you both get enjoyment from?
We both get enjoyment from spending time as a family. My children love their grandma very much; she has a valued role and loving contribution to make to our family.
Congratulations to Suzy!
If you know a carer that you’d like to see celebrated, please email your nomination to firstname.lastname@example.org