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Chris Crowstaff

Robin

In the big picture, I suppose one person passing on at the grand age of 94 shouldn't be a shock. But we were Dad's carers and he was a major part of our lives. In the last few months, especially, our days and nights pretty much revolved around him..

Young Carers

Our daughter, age 17, is of course also inevitably involved in caring for Mum. More times than we probably realise, we say to her, 'Please can you come and sit with Grandma'. And she does... But then she falls behind with homework and gets overtired...

Christmas as carer

Mum had been looking forward to Christmas for months. I'm not sure that's the right way to describe it. Actually she's been thinking for months that Christmas was imminent. For my father-in-law, this was his 93rd Christmas...  Mum and Dad's 'reality' is different to ours. We have to tune into their reality.

Truth

Mum thought that my dad was in her home waiting for her to get his supper and said she needed to go straight home again. This was a new situation. We took some deep breaths and considered how to react... I tried to reassure her that Dad didn't mind her being here. But she said I couldn't possibly know that.

Mum by river

Alzheimer's Disease is full of surprises... My mum frequently asks where my dad is and why he left us. Actually he passed away six years ago. The bottom line is Mum is happy and caring... really is there a problem...?

At the beach 

I've become used to answering Mum's questions in different ways, depending on her mood and the situation. I'm realising that the words I use are often less important than remembering to smile. And to try to stay calm myself...

Mum birthday 4

 I told Mum I would take her home today but she thought she was already at home. It's increasingly hard to know when to correct Mum and when to go along with her imaginary world. This time, I decided not to correct her. Hoping that when she arrived home at her bungalow, half an hour away by car, with our son there, she would remember.

Dad in A and E

Both our parents are widowed and have dementia - my mum has Alzheimer's Disease and my father-in-law has vascular dementia... Dad was sitting in his armchair as usual. However, another armchair was tipped over. Dad said that he'd fallen over. It was obvious that a bone was sticking out...

Mum in garden 2

I asked Mum if she'd like to cross the arcade to buy a Big Issue publication from the nice gentleman, which she was very keen to do. Mum knows very well that, in doing so, she was helping to support homeless people. She doesn't change in that way.

Alzheimers poem 2

OK this is relatively early stages but, at the moment, it is still possible for me to see Alzheimer's in a positive light, at times. Mum has presumably had Alzheimer's for a lot longer than any of the family realised. In hindsight, I can see that Mum has been showing symptoms for several years...

Teddies and Mum

Reading about Alzheimer's, it looks as though the condition progresses in a series of clear-cut stages... at some point the sufferer doesn't recognise even close relatives. I'm already beginning to realise, a week after my mum's diagnosis, it's not that simple.

Mum blessings

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised at the diagnosis, as Alzheimers fits with Mum's symptoms. But I am. To be honest, I find it impossible to believe or imagine that there will come a day when she doesn't know who I am.