A must-read article from Mary Smith, for anyone caring for a family member with ill health or disability, particularly in the UK…
It is truly astonishing the amount of equipment required to allow someone to continue living in their own home when the person has dementia combined with mobility problems and other medical conditions.
Most things are actually available through social services or the NHS but it’s not quite as simple as putting in a request and receiving what is needed. For one thing, you don’t know what you’re going to need at different stages. The handrail by the back door, which was helpful when the Goldfish started to become a bit tottery but could still manage steps with his walking stick in one hand, was utterly useless when he had to use a walker on wheels. Try getting that, and him, down steps!
Also ‘they’ don’t always tell you what is available even though they are the ones supposedly trying to keep people living independently in their own homes. And sometimes what they provide is not what is needed.
The Goldfish couldn’t get to grips with the NHS model of walker, which doesn’t have wheels and can’t be pushed along the ground so we bought him a walker on wheels. We were advised to go for the four-wheel type, which has a lidded storage box which doubles as a seat if the person needs a rest. The Goldfish thought it was hilarious to be pushed around the house while sitting on his like some god-like creature while I sweated and built up arm muscles which would have been useful on a building site. He also once mistook the lidded box for the toilet – but we’ll draw a veil over that.
When the Goldfish began to go walk-about at night, one instance involved the police who reported it to social services. We were given a door alarm and he was also – after being found unconscious on the floor one morning – given a fall detector.
Then came the time when the Goldfish couldn’t walk any distance and we requested and were provided with a manual wheelchair. We still had the crazy performance of getting him down the steps and into the car, out of the car at our destination and into the wheelchair. By the time they were able to provide a banana board, which fits between the chair and the car seat, the Goldfish, although physically able no longer had the mental capacity to understand what he should do.
We bought various bits and pieces to help – a thing which hooked on the door so the Goldfish could pull himself in could double as a tool to smash the window if we had a crash. Finally, we bought a vehicle
Continue reading: My Dad’s a Goldfish – Don’t ask, don’t get | My Dad Is A Goldfish