I have a sister who was 80 years of age last August. She has led a fantastic life with many interests, living much of her life in South Africa. She has been a widow for the past 10 years and now lives alone in a village in Warwickshire.
She has a diagnosis of dementia which has been steadily worsening over the last 4-5 years and also has macular degeneration, so is unable to see very well. I am her only relative here in England; she has two sons and four grandchildren who live in South Africa and visit when they can.
My sister has not been the easiest person to help, she is very independent and accepts any form of help reluctantly. She does receive medication for her dementia and is visited at home to assess her progress every 3 months. I also take her to the macular unit at the local hospital and she now attends the low vision clinic there – again every three months or so and is participating in a clinical trial relating to her eye condition. She is most reluctant to allow me to accompany her into these consultations and believes both her vision and mental state to be almost perfect.
I have found Care Companion to be a real life line and its many features have been really helpful.
In the Resources section, for instance, I found ‘Dementia Connect in Warwickshire’ which subsequently led us to a local equine therapy service which she has been able to go along to – she thoroughly enjoyed this having been around horses for most of her life. Similarly in an effort to learn more about her dementia I have been able to join a free online dementia support session - without moving from the house – most important in these current times.
The address book means that I have been able to record the contact details of essential services such as the oil supplier for her central heating and which she is unable to recall readily.
Most helpful has been the diary to make practical notes about when appointments are due – fire service assessments, occupational health for aids in her home etc as my sister is unable to remember these dates and I can then let her know in advance that someone will be calling and the reason why.
I have also been keeping a journal of day to day difficulties and issues that arise and alongside this record both she and I are feeling via the mood monitor. This is invaluable in noting fluctuations and their probable cause – helpful when looking back and talking to health professionals.
My sister was due to go into sheltered accommodation just prior to the outbreak of coronavirus and of course this has been put on hold for the foreseeable future. We manage – living separately – but Care Companion has been a real aid in linking us together, helping us both through these difficult times.