My mother had Lewy Body dementia, which is a cruel combination of Alzheimers-type symptoms, Parkinsonism and psychotic elements (hallucinations etc.). It truly was a nightmare, both for her, and for her family. When she died she knew no-one around her and lived in perpetual fear as she kept seeing people who were not there; and the last time I saw her she was clinging onto the arm of her wheelchair because she thought she had to hold it up to keep it from falling on the floor. Her decline was truly grim - words cannot describe it. If she had been with-it enough I know that she would have ended her life somehow.
My plea is for proper care for people like her - I hold out little hope of a cure, and believe that most of us will finish up with some degree of dementia.
Some of the places we saw where the hospital proposed my mother should go were truly horrifying - I will not bore you with the descriptions of them. How these places ever got registered or passed their inspections is beyond belief.
There has to be some way that we stop condemning elderly people with dementia to this appalling care.
There are a few good homes, and luckily we finally found one for my mother - a somewhat scruffy place, but run like a family - she eventually died there 8 years ago with the best are that could be expected under the circumstances - but no-one could fully relieve her distress. My Dad too died in the same home last summer and I am eternally grateful to them for their loving care.
A good standard of care can make a huge difference. The recent programmes on BBC TV about who will look after our parents showed an elderly lady on a hospital ward that was dreadful - the physical design of it and the ignorance of the nurses made this poor woman's behaviour vastly worse. When she moved into a decent care facility, her behaviour improved straight away, she became calmer, and the need for 24 hour one-to-one surveillance vanished. I worked for 10 years in a dementia unit and know how it should be done.
These good homes are so few and far between and the only way forward for improvement is for the government to take the problem seriously and fund what is needed. I understand the problem of limited funds, but these old and frightened people are being treated appallingly and it cannot go on in a civilized society.
LucyGransnet (GNHQ) Wed 21-May-14 17:28:03
Mishap Wed 21-May-14 18:53:50
annsixty Wed 21-May-14 20:22:31
Aka Wed 21-May-14 21:10:32