Dad (AKA grumpy) Our families Dementia journey

Lets look back:

2017 Journey begins and diagnosis……….Mum had seen a number of changes within grumpy which made her concerned regarding his memory. The issue we have is that grumpy has multiple conditions and as many people know some can mirror Dementia Symptoms and also the medication he takes could have had an impact. However, mum had to make an appointment for dad at his local GP to talk about some of his conditions and at that appointment she raised her concern. She wasn’t sure she would raise it as she was worried about Grumpy’s reaction. However, Grumpy also said he had noticed things that he was worried about.

The doctor on this visit was one of the ‘good ones’ (sadly the surgery isn’t that good). So there and then the GP commenced the initial testing. Which went similar to this:

  • name and address was given to him at the start.
  • asked him to count backwards from 20
  • asked him to say the months of the years backwards
  • showed him a selection of pictures and one of the was a crown and he asked which picture related to the royal family.
  • He then asked him to tell him the name and the address that he had given to him at the start.

On speaking to mum after she said for some he did well, he did remember some of the address and name, he was able to get half way counting and for the months. However, he struggled with the picture question and could not explain the crown being part of the royal family.

The doctor then said he has some markers that could mean he needs further testing and that he would refer to the ‘Memory team’ (what it says on the tin I suppose).  He also asked for medication review, and full round of bloods to rule out any other condition that could mimic Dementia.

Grumpy went along to the memory team with mum and sister Joanna which is really important to have as many people as you can that knows them. As we also see different changes which helps the professionals to see the bigger picture. He was also sent for a CT scan.

During the months that followed dad fell unwell, had a number of TIA (mini strokes), post stroke seizures, bouts of infections which meant lots of trips to the hospital (not always a positive experience). Not having a definite diagnosis was hard as the hospital did not meet his needs at the time and a lot of this was down to not having it in black and white. I felt they dismissed us which added even more pressure.

I am going to continue to write about Dad’s journey. This is just the beginning 2017 was a hard year. I am aware it is not over and that 2018……….onwards is going to have more hard times.

A few things to note:

  • keep notes if you notice changes
  • during the investigations do not forget to breathe
  • once diagnosis comes do not think life is over there and then
  • know that dementia is a terminal illness and this can be something we need to support people understanding
  • a diagnosis does not mean someone does not have capacity understand so remember how they feel about the diagnosis
  • depression is a common reaction
  • compassion and empathy will help you to support someone.
  • plan for the future
  • before diagnosis consider Lasting Power of attorney for health and wellbeing (only comes in to action when the person loses capacity).

 

Will be back with more experiences and progression within Grumpy’s journey.

By the way ‘Grumpy’ is a term of endearment that all his grandchildren use (because he is grumpy but it a loving way).

 

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I have been quiet!

Me and Mental Wellbeing

Sometimes you just gets carried away and you forget to take a moment to just stop and do something as simple as sitting in the garden. At present I am working mainly doing  “in house training”. On the plus side it is work (which if fantastic) on the flip side it does mean long days and quite a bit of additional travelling, which means I’ve not had time to stop, think and contemplate.  Even on my trip to Brugge texts and calls were coming into my mobile and I was thinking abut work; which was not ideal

Currently, I have a number of new blog ideas and will try to get these down and posted soon. However, for now I am sat here in the garden preparing for next week, compiling a powerpoint for Mental Health Awareness training. Which has got me thinking  and I decided to stop for a moment and blog.

Today while looking on information and refreshing my knowledge on Mental Health I was able to think of my own Mental Wellbeing (its not something I talk about a lot  or even try to think about to much).

Like many people, I can say that periods of my life has challenged my mental wellbeing. While researching the prevalence of mental health I realised that more people develop mental health issues at a younger age.  The amount of young people that suffer anxiety and depression is quite worrying. However, when I think back I realise that I suffered anxiety as a youngster, its just that the name was not used or the awareness of Mental Health was not what it is now.

Mental Health unfortunately did follow me into adulthood and its only now I admit what it is, I used to just ignore it and would never ever admit to labelling how I was feeling (not sure why but a hidden illness comes to mind). Some of how I felt was about loss of control and fear of what might happen to my family or friends and then it would build so I would feel anxious.

I am lucky I have a supportive husband who has admitted that he is still learning about Mental Health, and initially did not understand why I react to the simplest of issues in the way I did, and seemly blow them out of all proportion. Now though, he does and he helps me to structure things and take control which has helped. This has allowed me to manage my mental wellbeing to a degree .

I now recognise and am more aware of times in my life, when my Mental Well being has been challenged and I am trying to be more open and honest about my feeling and not hiding them away for fear of judgement and what might happen.(Work in progress)

Things that have helped;IMG_0230.JPG

  • Taking control of my financial situation (thanks to my husband) as now I am not as afraid about money as I used to be.
  • Autonomy within my career which has allowed me control (well some control).
  • Trying to open up a little more to my husband.
  • Being aware that I am not in a good place and trying to not ignore.
  • Trying to organise my life a little more.
  • Enjoying simple things in life.
  • Sitting in the garden and just focussing on whats important.

Don’t get me wrong this is not a quick fix , but it has helped me greatly and given me peace of mind. I am hopeful that as time goes on things will continue to progress and I will continue to work on myself. IMG_0250.JPG

I sit here now and feel good and feel happy I can take moments like this (yes I am working but working outside has a different feeling). I wouldn’t want anyone to think that I am suffering I am not I am just sharing which I think is a massive step. Hiding is not the answer, feeling embarrassed is not a feeling we should feel, being scared to admit how we feel today is not allowing us to heal.

So today I am good but hey tomorrow it might be different. However, as I say make the most of the good days and feel alive as life will still be there and will still need you to breath. Just stop take a moment, look at the simple things like our cat Kobe needing attention from the most caring man I know.

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Don’t forget to take pleasure in the simplest of things because that will give you joy and joy is the greatest defence against feeling low. Stay safe, speak up and do not hide away.

 

Maxine

Time to have a walk and go back to taking photos

Hello Sunday

Pleased to have been and enjoyed a walk aroung Anglesey Abbey, loving the colours that are still vibrant and some surprising flowers still hanging in there but also some that are just sprouting. Loved the walk still no closer to a decision on the blog but some lovely chances to take a few photos.

Hope you enjoy browsing.

Good bye 2016. Hello 2017

I am sure there are going to be a lot of these predictable new years posts but it has to be done and it has to be done well.

So here goes:

2016 what did you give to me.

January you gave me a graduate as my gorgeous daughter graduated from Derby University. A very proud moment.jan

February was a quiet month but still but I got to sea seals on the beach in Norfolk with my wonderful friend ‘Kinky’ or Kate if you need her real name.

March was a busy time just getting out and about and meeting up with friends.The mask picture was a game of pin the cucumber on the hunk (you had to be there).

April was all about the gardening and family time. The big garden was commenced and a pop to Lowerstoft to see mum and dad.

May the gardening became a massive build or should I say demolition, poor Alan ended up on his back with me giggling. Love continued.

June was all about the queens birthday and a mission to try and get the community together which was not a great success but we had great time with the usual bunch of people.

July was about big weekend, time alone with Cameron in Norfolk, checking out the botanic gardens to see where we will have our wedding photos and then barbecue in the new look garden.

August was a trip to Scotland with some great friends who fell in love with the scenery. We had an amazing week,lucky with the weather and lovely place to stay. It was also the month when cucumbers and tomatoes grew beautifully.

September was a first for me going to my very first festival and then meeting Paddy of Emerdale. The parents visiting which was lovely and I got my heron photo. It was a good month. There was much sadness in September also which a number of my friends had to deal with and they dealt with their sadness with such dignity and strength.

October was a charity event time for breast cancer when planning it I was just thinking back at Valerie the real founder of the title to my blog but then how would I have known it would then be news that would be hard for all with my niece being diagnosed with breast cancer. It was a great night and every penny will count. I then had  a visit to bakewell with my lovely friend and her children.

November was a month where things were a little quieter but with a great night thrown in at Gin of the Rocks. Night at the museum and more gardening for Alan.

 

Now we come to December where we had the best time and the most fun just spending this month with family and friends. So no we have got to 31/12/16 a little poorly so no going out but what I do have is 2017 to look forward to and I can’t wait.

Good bye 2016 and welcome with bells on 2017. We have a wedding, more babies due and people to fight hard to ensure they get well. So positive vibes required and celebrations to be focused on.

Happiness, Health and Love I wish all.

Simplicity of life🌧☔️💞💞

Tonight after feeling a little frustrated and low. I had a simplicistic moment that reminded me of being thankful and happy with what my life has become now. Sat in bed and the rain began to pour down. Watching the rain drops and listening to the rain whilst laid next to the man I love.

It was a gentle moment which initially I didn’t appreciate until Alan mentioned going out and sitting in the rain in the dark (something new for me) ☔️☔️☔️☔️☔️. So wrapped up in my dressing gown and Alan in his fleece we went outside. Alan prepared the brollie and we sat💞. Do you know what? It was lovely and very romantic. I sat, was held, kept close and dry by this man who has shown me how to look further and appreciate what is around me. The rain was lovely the droplets sliding down the brollie and the sound of pitter  patter. The dark sky’s just made you feel lost in a new world where we only existed just for that moment nothing mattered apart from that very moment. Lost in the sound but the imagination of being at loch Eck in the rain was beautiful. P1110133 (2)

Appreciating what I have is simple it’s not sweating the small stuff but looking at what’s there right there and right now.

Thank you for the new moment Alan you are my rock and remind me of the simple things in life.

Resolutions!! WHY and WHAT FOR

Why do people make resolutions what are they for? Is it to make them feel they have a plan of action or is it to make the world a better place?

I am always baffled by the making of a new years resolutions as surely when you break them you feel like you failed and this will surely do the opposite of what a resolution is made for.

As I see it instead of a resolution write a bucker list of possibilities not over expectations and not set in concrete. My dear friend Valerie (not longer with us) used to pin on her fridge her aims and possibilities for the year ahead which we always joked about. However, after yesterday and my fiancée mentioning that we should do a list I have decided to start our own. The list will consist of things we hope to buy, things we hope to do, improvements we hope to complete and personal well-being.

First job on the list completed and after clearing out the cupboard I am going to utilise the container that I found with loose change in it and commence the second item on the list and that is to add to this container after each day with any loose change in my purse.

So I forego tradition resolution and opt for stealing Valerie’s idea and do a year of possibilities. Oh and another item to be added will be a Wedding date and a theme so as my pinterest doesn’t look like I am having a breakdown of ideas

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Inspiration is required

After a little more thought I have decided to commence the instagram 365 happy days photo challenge but not sure I will have enough inspiration to take a picture every day to meet 365 days. 2 down and these are the first. The first one shows my darling cat assisting with the Xmas clean up (no help just a bloody little toe rag) and the next is his toy discarded for sleep.

So as I go on with this challenge I hope to gain inspiration from the people around me and hope to offer some light-hearted scenes of happiness or what at that moment in time gave me a smile.

I aim to gain inspiration from the new places I will visit both work wise and personally. As I am going to be assessing in some new establishments I hope the new learners will give me my passion for training and teaching. Or if not then at least I hope my nurturing side will be awakened again. I am going to be completing 2 days at a children centre to talk to parents about care and what it means to work in care. If I can inspire one person to take on the challenge of working in care and who can offer a positive input in care then I will be happy. Or at least I will be able to share what values I have about care work.

 

I am already thinking about the photo for tomorrow the question is what will I be inspired by tomorrow?

2016 and what does it have to offer?

selfiefirstly I think there will be lots more of these daft moments with these daft people that light my life up.

Well I have until midnight to decide if I want to do the 365 photo challenge on instagram. Its something that I thought of doing but not sure if I have the stamina and the ideas to think of a theme everyday.

This year will be another busy one as we settle in our new set up and become a couple that now live together, which as many know holds challenges but as we are a tight couple who love each other I think we will be able to take on any challenges that we come across. I will be setting a wedding date and will continue to find ideas to make the day perfect for us.

I hope this year I find my passion for the work I do again or if not that I find a job that will allow my passion for care to be used. I would hope that I hear of more good news stories to share on here to show that care is a valued role within society and is essential to ensure that people are cared for.

I wish all my family and friends love, health and happiness throughout the year but also hope if they have challenges that they can face them bravely and notice the people around who can support them.

I am excited to be at my daughters graduation in January, I will be proud to see her in her outfit and to get her degree with me watching on beaming with such joy at her achievement.

I hope that my fiancée will get his books out there more and will know that people like his writing and enjoy what he creates. Echoes of a Storm (The Storm Series Book 1) its worth a read.

I look forward to my eldest son enjoying his new life in Bristol with his lovely lady. I also hope he manages this time to plan things and to keep in touch more, I can hope :).

 

 

Take a moment to appreciate Autumn x

Well its Autumn here and I love the colours you find when walking. Love the warmth feeling it makes you feel even if its a chilly day. Its just a lovely season. Everyone should take a moment to take a wander through the leaves that have fallen from the trees, Hearing the crisps leaves beneath your feet. Take a look at the colours and the patterns mapped out on the leaves, look up to see the leaves hanging on to the tree or as they fall watch them glide to the ground. Just take a moment. The news can be dark and miserable, with politicians making decisions that affect so many and I know this will not fix things but for a moment you will see beauty and it may just give you a smile for a while.  P1120230 P1120174P1120169P1120123 P1120120 P1120356P1120205 P1120193 P1120185 P1120407 P1120410 P1120344 P1120231

It was a real DAY OFF! :)

Well for a number of years my day off would consist of working to catch up but today I actually had a day off.  I relaxed in bed until after 9 am (this does not happen often), I got up watched TV, which included the Great British Bake off. Listened to smooth radio whilst relaxed in the bath (no longer a gorilla 🙂 ). Went for a walk along the riverside and enjoyed my hobby of photography. Then back home to yet again to relax and listen to music. Days off are great when you actually don’t work. So a word to all you people who worry about targets, deadlines and getting behind, just stop and enjoy the day, take a moment to do your hobby or interest or just stay in bed.

Value the DAY OFF!P1110473 (2) P1110485 (2) P1110492 (2) P1110493 (2) P1110496 (2)