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Hi everyone my name is Suzy,today is my first day here.I have a sister who is 67 and she is in a care centre with Dementia.I visit 3 days a week and stay 2-3 hours each visit,my sister is no longer very talkative so I have to try and think of different stories of things happening in the world or just in my every day life.My sister requires full care as she can't do much for herself except eat when food is given to her ,she has no interest in anything anymore.I love spending the time with her and won't give up on her but find I'm breaking down in tears more often and not sleeping well. I have recently started to have nightmares again as I do when stressed, I suffered from post traumatic stress disorder after a physical and mentally abusive marriage and ended seeing a phsycitrist for help. I have come on here hoping for some help and guidance.Thanks
Hello and welcome to Beyond Blue. I am sorry to hear how unwell your sister is. I had a dear friend who developed Alzheimers and eventually went to live in retirement home. Her husband went to see her every day and gave her breakfast. Then he went back to lunch and again at tea time so that he could feed her. It was exhausting for him. She died several years ago.
I used to visit her at her home and later in the care facility. I found the best response was when I talked about her childhood and teenage years. I did not know her then but we both came from England and had similar upbringing. And of course, I could talk to her about the same things often as she failed to remember we had spoken about them. But she could remember when she was young and this brought her to life, so to speak. She became quite animated.
Are there any other members of your two families who could help with the care of your sister? Caring for someone who has dementia is heartbreaking as we know there will be no cure. In order to stay strong for your sister you need to take care of your own health. I suggest you see your GP for a checkup. You may need something of a pick-me-up.
Do you have a good diet? Sometimes we do neglect ourselves in this area. I know this is the case for me. My grandson came to live with me two years ago. Having a teenager around was not the calmest of things but it was beneficial because I needed to cook for him, and therefore myself. However, when he is at work I find it hard to make an effort for myself.
Do you still see your psychiatrist? It may be worthwhile getting a new referral if you have stopped seeing him/her. Why not mention your nightmares when you visit your GP? I understand about having an abusive husband as this was my situation until I left 16 years ago.
Please take steps to care for yourself and continue to write in here.
Welcome tot he community here at Beyond Blue. I would also like to recommend to you that you go back to see your Dr and psychiatrist for a chat.
I work in aged care so know a little about dementia and how it affects people.
Do you have old photos you could take in to show your sister? That might get a conversation going. I also realise some people with dementia find it very hard to have a conversation, so I hope you can accept your sister may not be able to communicate like previously.
Have you read much about dementia? Could you ask the staff there for some information or Google it for better understanding.
There may be a dementia support service in your region where you can talk with other people caring for a loved one suffering from dementia.
For some reason music and singing works well for people with dementia. Some people who can no longer follow a conversation can sing songs!
Maybe you could give your sister a hand massage (using hand cream would work) or brush her hair, that might be comforting for her.
Some people with dementia also like to cuddle soft toys, did your sister like cats for example? You might be able to buy a toy cat for her to cuddle.
Is there a garden in the centre where you could take your sister when the weather is nice?
It may be very beneficial also if you think about things that make you happy and give you pleasure and make time to do those things to balance out your weeks.
To me you seem to be a loving and caring person to visit your sister as you do. Hope some of this has helped.
Cheerio for now from Mrs. Dools