I’ve done all the reading and researching, website searching, report reading and picture watching. So today is the day that I take a look at a handful of local care homes to find the right place for dad while we take a two week break. I have put this off for so long and really have to bite the bullet today. We hope to try out one for a weekend and then subject to him feeling ‘happy’ about it, will book the dates in for our holiday.
No matter how hard I try, I can’t shake off the feeling of ‘putting dad in the kennels’. Yet I know that after eleven months of full-time caring, I deserve this break and more especially, my husband does too. Even though he doesn’t really play a big part in the day to day care of my dad, he does feel the lack of freedom to go out with me for a meal, a weekend break or even just a walk together.
I started with a list of all local care homes and deleted as I went along. Every home owned by the company that ran his last one went straight off the list. He said he didn’t want to go into a big home so they were removed too. (I have my own concerns about this issue but they are gut reactions and probably just silly). Then, some were geared up to people with dementia and I felt that these might be inappropriate. It would be nice if the place we chose had other residents that he could hold an intelligent conversation with.
Today I will pay a visit to four homes. Unannounced. This is my ruse to get a gut reaction on arrival. Sneaky? Yes. But necessary, I think. I have drafted a list of questions. Can he have a shower when he wants? Will someone help him to dress? Can he have a glass of wine with his dinner? Will someone rub emollient cream on his flaky legs like I do every morning? I’ve made a list of his problems. His stomach. His balance. His hearing. His teeth. His vision. On reading it back it makes him sound like a nightmare but he really isn’t.
After my initial visits, I’ll then go to each with dad. We can then try him over a weekend and see what he thinks. If he doesn’t like it, I guess we just try again somewhere else. I now realise that to get the break we want, I’ve left it late and really should have got on with this sooner.
I suppose that the other alternative would be to see if any agency in the area provides care in your own home. Money isn’t a problem. He has a good income even though ten years in a care home previously took away £200 000 of his money. But I worry that someone will leave him in the house alone or they will not respect our home. I’ve always had issues with trusting people.
I have found this very difficult and assume that other carers have gone through the same process. Hopefully it will all work out well.
To be continued!