If you care, will you go into care?

I was reading a post by someone on a Facebook Page for people with Parkinson’s and their carers tonight. It was posted by the daughter of someone who has Parkinson’s and whose husband has become her carer. Both parents are in their 80’s. Doctors have recommended that the Mother with Parkinson’s needs to go into residential care. The daughter is struggling with the idea and knows how hard it will be on her parents for her Mum to no longer live with her husband.

It makes me think back many years ago, probably 30+ years when I was married to my children’s Father. His elderly grandparents lived together in a small flat and his grandmother was frail and relied on his grandfather to care for her and support her. I don’t know if they ever had anyone come in to help them, but I know that Pop used to physically help her with showering and dressing and probably other things that I wasn’t aware of at the time. She was both physically and mentally frail and he was a small man but seemed in reasonable health for his age. We all expected that with Nanna’s frailty she would be the first one to pass away. Out of the blue we got a phone call and heard that Pop had had a heart attack, was taken to hospital and died. Nanna then had to go immediately into care as she couldn’t look after herself. She went on to live for several years – I can’t recall how many exactly – ending up with dementia.

I understand a family members reluctance to ‘put Mum or Dad in care’ but there comes a time for all of us, when it is just not possible to remain at home and both the person with Parkinson’s and the husband, wife or partner become at risk. Caring for someone who has high needs can also be an isolating experience. The carer can become unable to keep up social connections due to the level of care they must provide. Going into a residential facility can offer both care and companionship and can actually be a positive experience.

Early in my journey with Parkinson’s, I had a discussion with my husband and told him that if I become unsafe to be at home and if he cannot safely care for me, it is OK for him to find a facility where I can get the care I need. I know that he will not do this lightly and that he will try to get as much support at home first, but I wanted him to know that it will be OK. What I don’t want to happen is for the responsibility of caring for me and the stress it might create for him makes him have a stroke or other major event himself. I also want my children to be aware of our conversation and support him if this needs to happen in the future.

So, because I care so much for my husband, I want him to know that he can find a place to take care of me when the time comes and that I am OK with that.

Hopefully, though that it will be many years from now and we have plenty of time to spend with each other in our lovely new home.

Published by kiwipommysue

I work in health and have been with the same supportive team for over 7 years. They are all aware of my diagnosis and this helps tremendously especially while I get used to the idea of my diagnosis. My parents both had Parkinsons, so I guess my odds were higher than most.

2 thoughts on “If you care, will you go into care?

  1. Thank you. I hope so too! But, I think it is good to have the conversation early, so that the person in the role of carer does not get faced with the guilt that can often come with making the decision.

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