Mum worked as a warden in sheltered housing, looking after elderly people. She had a great sense of humour and was always playing pranks on people. But a few years after she retired, she started to become forgetful. Her personality changed and it felt like she was a completely different person.
In 2015, Mum’s GP referred her to the memory clinic, where she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Mum was so upset and never accepted the diagnosis.
Mum’s hygiene started to deteriorate. Previously, she would never leave the house without her makeup on, but she would tell me that she’d had a shower, but the shower was bone dry. It was really upsetting.
We didn’t get any support after Mum’s diagnosis. I am a carer by profession but as her dementia progressed, I had to give up work and care for her full-time.
Meeting Admiral Nurse Tracy was a relief
I met my dementia specialist Admiral Nurse, Tracy, by chance. I had taken on some shifts to care for a gentleman with Alzheimer’s disease and Tracy was there. We started chatting and she told me that she was an Admiral Nurse – I had never heard of them before.
I had to get the GP to refer us to Tracy. It was a battle, but I was persistent. When Tracy first visited us, it was such a relief. She got things done for us and acted as a middleman between us and local services. Tracy had a great relationship with Mum. She would hold her hand and really listen to her. Tracy was a great emotional support for me too.
Tracy made sure Mum passed away at home
Soon after Tracy’s first visit, Mum was at the end of her life. She wanted to stay at home, and Tracy made sure that happened, with the local hospice providing palliative care.
She also knew that Mum was religious and arranged a home visit from the vicar of the church where she got married. That was so special and something that we wouldn’t have thought of.
Mum passed away at home in August 2022, surrounded by all six of her children. Tracy visited after Mum passed to support us, and even came to her funeral.
Losing Mum has left a big gap in my life, but my sisters and I talk every day on the phone and Tracy still calls to see how I am doing. You don’t find many people like Tracy – I don’t know what I would have done without her.