Wednesday 9th February
As well as juggling family life and fostering duties, we have power of attorney for my elderly grandmother who has Alzheimers Disease. She lives in a care home two miles down the road. In between hospital appointments and school runs, I tend to go visit a couple of times a week. This week I have been asked to take Nan to the Podiatry clinic. I’m not sure if you have a pet hate – for me sand, glitter and chalk all come a close second to feet. I’m not sure what it is – they are obviously useful, and standing, let alone moving, would be difficult without them. But they still just seem…weird!
We used to get a private chiropodist to come to the care home to sort her feet, but she has recently been diagnosed with diabetes, so now qualifies for free NHS foot care. I asked the care home to have her ready 30 minutes before the appointment so I had plenty of time to get her out of the home, into the car and out at the clinic the other end. It takes a while because she is not as quick on her feet, will need to go for a last minute wee – at least twice – and then there’s the endless questions about where she is going.
Having arrived at the care home at 1pm, I was surprised to find her sitting in the dining room with the other residents waiting for her lunch. The staff seemed to have no idea that she had an appointment. She hadn’t had her lunch, so I had to wait while she had a few bites to eat. There was no point trying to move her with a hungry tummy – I would not hear the end of it! We then had the problem of locating her shoes and coat. Eventually we got out of the door, and I raced to get her to the Podiatry Clinic, just in the nick of time.
The Podiatrist looked at her notes and asked why I had brought her to the clinic. I explained that the care home had referred her. She explained that normally they visit the residents with Alzheimers in their care home. Typical! All that effort of getting her out the care home and she could have been seen there! I take a very deep breath. It is very frustrating when things like this happen. I remind myself that I have had precious time with Nanna and actually she is having a good day, so getting her out has been fairly straightforward. There have been other times when it has been a nightmare, and I have been left in a state of complete exhaustion.
I had no idea, until we faced this with Nanna, how debilitating Alzheimers disease can be. One day she seems quite bright and knows us (not necessarily what our relationship to her is – but she knows that she knows us), other days she is very confused and it can be quite upsetting. We know that it is good to visit her and show her how much we love her. We hope that we are modelling a good way of treating the older generation to our daughters! And one day they might be looking after my feet!
A Less Ordinary Family Blog