Respite care for Dementia Patients at Abbeyfield, Tamar House
When my Mum was diagnosed with Dementia the doctors advised that she shouldn’t live alone anymore as it appeared to them that she was getting confused with her medication, either not taking it or taking too much. She had lost a lot of weight and they thought that she may have been missing meals or not bothering to eat. My Dad had been admitted to a Nursing Home the month before.
As a working mum of 3 in an enjoyable, but demanding job, I knew I had to find a balance to be able to make this extra caring responsibility work. With a husband who works away from home for many days at a time and older children at university in the Midlands and up North, it became very important for me that I could take time out to be able to spend time together as a family or visit my children while they were away.
I needed to find somewhere where I knew my mum would feel safe and happy. My Mum is very shy and gets quite nervous meeting new people. This has become harder for her with dementia.
When I visited Abbeyfield, Tamar House it felt and smelt like a real home. We were warmly greeted and offered a cup of tea as soon as we walked in. Their respite room is on the ground floor so there wasn’t any need for me to worry about when Mum went for her night time wanders that she may fall down any stairs as she would be confused about where she was in the night!
The respite room is a good size, not too big to be overwhelming for Mum and felt cosy with space for personal belongings.
When I took Mum there for the first time she was very nervous. We settled her into her room, hung up her clothes and then she was taken into the sitting room with the other guests. The handover with Mums’ medication was easy and they asked what her favourite foods were and whether she preferred tea or coffee etc. All this put me at ease and I knew that Mum would free safe.
When picking her up after our trip, Mum was sat in the lounge listening to music and singing with the other guests. She looked so happy and more engaged than I have seen her for months. The handover back was smooth. They ran through their observations, how Mum got up confused in the night but was well looked after and settled back to sleep. During the hot summer my Mum had asked to go outside in the garden to sit. This meant that a member of staff had to go with her. On her enjoyment of the lovely gardens, Tamar House will now be putting up a secure fence so the guests can go into the garden at their leisure.
The next time Mum stayed so I could visit my son’s at their universities to bring them back for Christmas, my Mum remembered where she was and she was quite excited about going there. We were welcomed at the front door by our names and she was whisked off for breakfast. A few days later when I picked her up, she looked rested and happy. Before we left she went to ‘say goodbye to my friends’! My Mum had enjoyed the activities although she couldn’t quite remember what she had done.
I will continue to be able to visit my sons and spend time as a family whilst knowing that my Mum is happy and safe with people who care and understand when she gets confused or wanders at night.