Bahman had been worried about his wife’s mental health for some time.
“Kathleen would ask the same questions over and over again, such as what day it was,” says Bahman. He finally persuaded Kathleen to go to their GP but Kathleen was an eloquent and intelligent former GP herself, and the doctor concluded there was nothing wrong with her.
The problems continued for months and Bahman decided to seek advice from their local mental health team. “We referred ourselves,” says Bahman. “They examined my wife, and that’s the first time we heard the word Alzheimer’s mentioned.”
“I couldn’t think of anything worse happening to Kathleen than the deterioration of her mental state,” says Bahman. “I looked Alzheimer’s up online, learning there was no cure and it could mean forgetting who your own children were. This was very difficult to learn.”
Admiral Nurse support
Bahman contacted Dementia UK and was put in touch with Admiral Nurse Vincent Goodorally.
“Vincent offered suggestions about financial support, such as Attendance Allowance, which we’d never heard of. And he arranged for the district nurse to visit us at home every week, which was a great help, as it meant not having to struggle to GP appointments. Without Vincent, life would have been far more difficult for us to cope with, both physically and financially.”
Kathleen also had sleep apnoea, a disorder that meant she could fall deeply asleep at any moment. “Kathleen was sometimes sleeping for 20 hours a day,” says Bahman. “I couldn’t wake her up, even if I shook her arm. Nothing worked. She could fall asleep wherever we were, which could mean me trying to physically move her.”
Vincent told Bahman about a taxi service that could carry Kathleen in her wheelchair, so even if she fell asleep while out and about, Bahman could get her home.
The next five years
For five years, Vincent kept on coming to see Kathleen and Bahman. “His regular meetings with me and my wife helped a great deal,” says Bahman. “We had live in care for the last five years, which almost broke us financially. But Vincent helped us apply for Continuing Healthcare funding, which we were completely unaware of. We managed to get about a third of our care expenses through that.”
Kathleen died at home in spring 2019. “She went peacefully with her whole family around her,” says Bahman. “We were very fortunate in that.”
Vincent and Bahman still keep in touch. “Vincent was here only a few days ago,” says Bahman. “He’s planning to come every now and again just to see how I’m getting on, now that I am living by myself. I only have praise for Vincent. It’s an excellent service.”
When things get challenging or difficult, Admiral Nurses work alongside people with dementia, and their families: giving them compassionate one-to-one support, expert guidance and practical solutions