A landmark day today, when my wife came to me at breakfast in tears and said, ‘I don’t know what I would do if you weren’t here to help me’. After comforting her and reassuring her that I would always help her as long I was able, I thought it was a opportunity not to be missed and raised the issue of what might happen if she was to outlive me. She realised that she couldn’t live on her own and take care of herself independently. Then she agreed that we should have an Aged Care Assessment done, and have that in place and her name on the waiting list at the retirement village where we live for a place where she would have the best available aged care. I contacted the Village Sisters this afternoon and arranged for someone to visit us tomorrow and help us through the process of getting the assessment done.
We have had a big week so far. On Wednesday we had the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) here. The interview lasted close to 2 hours. During the interview my wife was subjected to another MMSE. Again her score was very low as previous occasions. I said I was surprised that another MMSE was conducted as I had the report from the previous one done a year ago. The interviewer had no record of the previous MMSE and apologised for the error. The assessor’s verbal summary was that my wife is eligible for respite high care in a nursing home, and ultimately needed full time high care. We have to wait for the written report to confirm this before we do anything else.
Lately my wife has been having orientation problems in our own home. Such as heading off to the kitchen when she needs the bathroom. This morning, after we had come home from doing some shopping, she went to the bathroom and started undressing saying she needed a shower. I reminded her that she had a shower first thing this morning before breakfast and really didn’t need another one just 4 hours after the first one. This evening as I was about to prepare our evening meal I found that she had put herself to bed even though it was just after 5 0’clock. I asked her if she wanted her meal in bed. She said she would get up to eat it. Afterwards she helped me wash up, but then went straight back to bed.
A couple of days ago we got the results from the recent breast screening. All is well with no signs of cancer. I read the letter before telling my wife what it said. Then I read the letter aloud to her to reassure her everything was OK. A couple of hours later she asked me again what the letter said, so I gave it to her to read. A couple of hours later again she asked the same question and I reassured her again that everything was OK. The next day she asked again to see the letter.
The last 24 hours have been rather stressful. For a few weeks my wife is showing signs of obsessive behaviour. Mannerisms such as putting on pair of gloves and then taking them off again. Another one is taking off a cardigan or jumper and folding it up, smoothing it out and then putting it back on. She sometimes complains she is feeling too hot, takes off her cardigan and then starts to take off her trousers and wants to walk around only half dressed. Last night I discovered when I came to bed that she hadn’t bothered to undress at all, but climbed into bed wearing all the clothes she had worn during the day, that is a pair of jeans and a tee shirt and a pair of socks. Even when she got up early in the morning to go to the bathroom she didn’t comment or seem to notice how she was dressed. Last night she shook me awake at 2.20 am to ask me if I was alright. Needless to say I was awake for at least the next hour and a half, while she went straight back off to sleep.
Just in case any readers are starting to think that life is stressful all the time, let me put your minds at ease. We have lots of happy times and lots of laughter on the good days of which there are plenty. It’s just that the good days used to be all the time.
Today I received the official assessment from ACAT. It is exactly as the assessor said it should be. Yesterday I received a letter from the Respite & Care Centre about carer support. The second paragraph of that letter reads, ‘Due to the large number of referrals to this program recently, you have been placed on a wait list. It may be up to a number of weeks before we can commence. In the meantime, if you need urgent respite or carer support, please contact CareLine, our 24 hour telephone support service for carers (see brochure and fridge magnet enclosed)’. They also included information and contact details for an Education and Training Calendar and Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service.
I discussed with my wife the ACAT assessment and we decided that we should talk to the Village Sisters about joining the waiting list for the Nursing Home here in the retirement village where we live. I did that yesterday afternoon and handed over a copy of the assessment. I said that we aren’t looking for residential in the near future but will be at some time later in the development of my wife’s condition. Apparently the next move is to talk with the Financial Officer about bonds and such like.
Last evening was a strange one. My wife went off to bed about 8.00 pm. I got her a glass of water and put out her medication that she takes at bed time and left her undressing getting ready for bed. I went back to the lounge to watch television. At about 10.30 pm my wife returned to the lounge fully dressed and said that she hadn’t yet been to bed. The bed didn’t look as though anyone had been in it since I made it in the morning. My wife couldn’t say what she had been doing since I left her earlier getting undressed. I helped her undress again and also put on her PJ’s and she got into bed. When I came to bed at 11.00 pm she was fast asleep and never moved when I got into bed.