Christina Handasyde Dick – Founder of Guardian Angel Carers – shares her personal story about how her mum has been affected by this last year and how she and her family have had to make changes to help her get early care to give her back her confidence.
Recently we put in place a reablement support package for my mum (76). A year ago, she developed neuropathy in her feet (loss of feeling), which is now spreading up her legs. She’s awaiting a back operation, but current climate, who knows when.
Sadly, she’s lost confidence to go out walking as she’s already had one fall resulting in a broken hip last summer and numerous near misses. And with the loss of her beloved dog during the first lockdown, she’s had no push to get outside.
Despite my GP husband and I being key workers, we decided to keep our kids at home so that we could see my mum and not put her at increased risk of Covid. We’ve got three kids, and our middle one, Jasmine (3), has not coped well in lockdowns. She loses her spark and starts stuttering – and this is a little girl that came out talking!
Last month, we made the difficult decision to stop seeing my mum so that Jasmine could go back to the nursery and be the social butterfly she is. The downside, like many others, is that it has left her isolated and lonely.
We popped by on Valentine’s Day, socially distanced in the drive, to drop some cards that the kids had made, and as she nearly wobbled over walking from our car back to her door, it really made me think she needs more help.
I found myself in the situation that so many families face when parents start to get frail. The quandary that they are far too young for “care” but that they need help to stay active and independent. In my mum’s case, she needs to keep using her muscles because if you “don’t use them, you lose them!”
So, two weeks ago, miraculously with no resistance from her, she agreed to my suggestion that one of my lovely colleagues visit each day to join her on a walk. A face of determination to “get back on her feet”.
Today, it made my heart feel full to see my mum out with our CareAngel Sharon and feeding the swans at her local pond. A 40 minute round trip there and back is proving just about right – with a little extra to stop and chat to the neighbours.
It’s made me wonder how many others have seen their ‘young at heart’ older parents physically decline after this long year and hard winter? And, it’s convinced me more than ever about how early care, such as reablement support, can open up rather than close down the world.
With our growing ageing population, my incredible Guardian Angels Carers team and franchise family are needed more than ever to help, because if your parents are anything like my mum, with someone by her side, she’s positive and determined that she can make great strides.
Within a mere two weeks, it’s given her the confidence to go it alone. I can already see her strength building again, and could not be happier that she too is happier, being more active.