Hubby and I attempt to take some time off from a caring role each week. It might be a trip to the garden centre for a coffee, or a visit to a green space for a walk.
It’s very much needed as the time goes on and my father in law becomes more confused and anxious about things.
Mostly about money, finance,bills etc. For someone who talked with high flying executives about multi million pound budgets for the civil service, the understanding of figures is slipping away.
So conversation becomes fraught and challenging without understanding. Over and over again. Repeating the same things, in a different way.
So, we have to take away some of those challenges, without removing all his independence totally. We still talk about money, we watch the news together, listen to political discussions that have financial implications for us all. And try to help him understand his confused brain as much as we can.
Often we come away physically exhausted. But more often it’s the emotional side that is draining. And we hear one another saying ‘he’s getting worse isn’t he?’ On a daily basis.
I think he knows too. I had a phone call on Saturday evening to apologise for his behaviour. He got frustrated with me because he asked me about some finances we had talked about. It’s all saved on my phone for ease. I found it, we talked and he was OK. I closed the information down. And he asked me the same thing 5 min later, but because I had to explain I needed to find it again – he got frustrated.
We had already decided Sunday would be a ‘day off’. And made sure things were in place to allow us to do this.
We went to the coast. Our go to place to clear our heads. And boy – was it needed! We had a bracing walk along the sea front, it was chilly and windy. But we sat outside a cafe with our coffee and cake – and talked about us, and watched some wind surfer’s. We laughed and talked of future plans.
Today is another day. Hospital appointment, visit to the bank. But I – we feel refreshed to start another week.
Don’t forget yourself. You may not always come first, but you need to place yourself somewhere at the top of the list. The further down that list you are – the harder it is to recharge your batteries. You cannot support others without looking after yourself!