I had to run Ash’s bath at night and wash him; I had to get him into and out of bed and dress him; I had to go with him to walk our dog to make sure he didn’t get lost. And manage I did – but eventually the lack of sleep almost brought me to a standstill. Being woken six times a night makes functioning very difficult indeed and we got to the stage where Ash was permanently worried; he was frightened of making a mistake.
I sobbed down the phone to my son who told me that he would support any decision I took and that I didn’t need to ask for his permission. So eventually, I made the difficult decision to start looking at care homes. I like to plan and didn’t want to wait for a crisis and then start the search.
Finding the right home for Ash
When Ash was diagnosed with young onset dementia five years ago, he was 58 years old and so was still relatively young. He was full of energy and most of his interests and hobbies were the same as they’d always been. The home I would have chosen for him then would have been very different to what I ended up looking for.
Initially, I visited six homes; some of them had lots of things on my ‘wanted’ list but none had them all, and only one of them had vacancies. Finally, I found a home where I could picture Ash and, in the lead up to the big day, I couldn’t have asked for anywhere better. Could I take in his armchair and put it in the lounge amongst all the matching, wipeable ones? No problem. Could I move in a more comfortable bed? Absolutely. And most importantly, could I move the room around, put pictures on the walls and lay it out in a way I thought he’d like? I could do all of that and was allowed to get on with it.
Happy and settled