I am the eldest daughter and registered carer of my mother Mary McAleavey aged 89 who has dementia. She was widowed in 1990 and has five children. My mother’s dementia was diagnosed three years ago and has lived with me permanently since November 2016. My mother’s short term memory loss is increasing, which can be frustrating due to her constantly repeating questions. Apart from relying on a walking frame to get around, her physical health is very good for someone approaching 90. She enjoys going out for meals, tea and cakes, trips to the hairdresser. She loves seeing her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. One of my cats, William, loves to sit on her lap and mum visibly relaxes as she strokes him. She also loves to watch the birds on the feeders in my garden.
She lived in the same house in Grangetown for 87 years and was an active member of her local church. It was a difficult decision bringing her from familiar surroundings but she could not be left alone for long due to things like leaving the front door open, leaving pans on the stove, going to bed fully dressed and not having a downstairs toilet. I have tried to do various things to keep her mind active, such as jigsaws, simple knitting and reading, but unfortunately these have not worked. At the moment, she is enjoying looking through old family photographs. Several relatives have experienced living with a person with dementia and have taken mum out for a few hours to give her a change of scene and to give me a short break.