Creativity Magazine

Dementia and Care - Asking for Help

Posted on the 04 June 2018 by Realityarts @realityarts

Being a carer for nearly 17 years to my mother who is living with dementia had it's ups and downs.  Amidst the feelings of hopelessness, guilt, anger and everything in between, there was joy, laughter, dancing and someone not wanting to leave the dance floor, (and it wasn't me!!!)  I shared some of my journey HERE

Dementia and Care - Asking for Help

For those who knew mom before the dementia developed into the more severe stages they would think back and smile at her beautiful personality that always lit up a room, I am so glad I took so many videos and photographs of herI  knew that at some point I would need to express how I felt the emotions that I experienced as a carer, those true and honest feelings that we very often keep hidden - whilst I shared the practicalities without emotion.  I wanted to share the ups and downs and how I dealt with them.  Each post that I will share touches on an emotion but essentially I hope if you are or have experienced the same thing then you would have the strength to share your voice as well and not stay isolated - some feel it is a sign of weakness if you share what you are going through.  I think it is perfectly alright to share how you feel not everyone is going to get it, like it or you for that matter.  Not everyday is a bed of roses, and those are few and far between when all you seem to be laying on is the thorns.What ever emotion you feel after watching the video it is alright!  Alright that you feel that way, but make sure that you listen to the message that is really the essence of the video.Dementia and Care - Asking for Help
The message is..... -  it is alright to ask for help, we don't have to carry this world and its cares on our own.  My triggers I guess are around the emotional ties of food.  If you didn't finish your food then you wouldn't be able to leave the table, that's what we were told when we were little.  At an early age my son was a fussy eater and I thought I wasn't looking after him well enough because he wouldn't eat at set times.  The health visitor after I shared with her said just let him enjoy and play with his food, put paper down to catch any he decides to fling, he won't starve himself, and you can take the pressure off yourself.  Admitting that there was a problem and how I felt she was able to make a suggestion that helped so much, and was the first glimpse for me about the emotional ties that I had with food.Come Full CircleMum began to store liquid in her mouth about 8 years ago, I coped,  but as it went on it got more difficult to deal with as you would have to physically remove it from her mouth which could be upsetting.  At one point the health visitors words about my son and not wanting to eat rang in my mind, and perhaps mom wasn't ready to eat, or maybe she didn't want what I was giving her.  Obviously there are the issues that might be about the dementia and the effects, but it was something that I couldn't control and perhaps she was trying to gain control and some independance.  If you don't finish your food you can't leave the table or have any pudding... what then, sometimes mom went all day with liquid in her mouth.  The emotions I began to feel were the same ones that I felt when my son wouldn't eat, that you failed at nurturing - what does that say about you now??? The Critic can be quite brutal, but that's for another post.

Asking for Help
There are people around you that are either waiting for you to ask them or for you to let go of the reigns and let them in to help you.  Though most see you 'seemingly cope' and feel that you have it worked out, don't know what to say to you or what help to offer.  It is alright to not have it all together, or worked out.  Dementia affects more than just the person living with it, but the wider community, and as a community if we all gave our support however small that is then families would feel less isolated and more connected and our elderly wouldn't be shut away in homes with no visitors.

I will be sharing more thoughts on my feelings over the coming weeks, in Art Journalling, video and blog, I hope you are blessed and share what you may be going through, how you deal with it, are there any creative activities that you use? You are not in this alone.Think about the emotional attachments that you may have that are informing your current situation. *  What do you need to let go of?*  What areas can you ask for help?*  identify 2 people and askStay blessed and be a blessing.

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