Loraine's Blog: Being a Carer

Posted on: 17/09/2021

In 2018 I stepped into more of a care and supporting role than a daughter to my parents.

My dad was diagnosed with lung cancer and was undergoing chemotherapy and at about the same time, my mum received a diagnosis of dementia.

Previously, visits to my parents had been once or twice a month, as well as chats over the phone, meals out etc. This changed almost overnight following their diagnosis to 3 times a week, increasing to visiting most days. The visits were for food shopping, helping with household chores and providing emotional support.

On top of this, I was balancing my own home life and working full-time. Whilst this change to my personal circumstances was personally challenging, I am fortunate to work for an organisation that is supportive and could offer help.

Dad became increasingly unwell during his chemotherapy treatment and he agreed for a Progress Lifeline unit and pendant to be installed so an alert could be raised in an emergency, we also added additional environmental sensors to give extra safety support. Mum’s dementia had an impact on her understanding of day and night and with dad in hospital, her routine was affected. She would often leave the house to walk the dog in the early hours and had a fall on more than one occasion.

The sense of responsibility I felt was immense but having the Progress Lifeline service proved to be invaluable when on one occasion my Dad’s blood pressure was extremely low resulting in him falling out of bed. We had constantly reminded mum to press the red button if she needed help and on this occasion thankfully she did. This resulted in help arriving very quickly and when I got there the paramedics were already treating Dad.

My dad’s terminal cancer travelled throughout his body and he died in October 2019 of brain cancer.

Since October 2019 I increased the support for my Mum who had deteriorated significantly. Due to the pandemic, my mum was shielding in her own home and all the care packages and support I had originally put in place were unfortunately reduced or stopped while the care organisations sought PPE. This in turn meant I had to reduce my own outside contact to minimise exposure to the virus - because if I had to isolate it would have resulted in mum having no support at all, as I would not have been able to safely visit and help her.

Like many people during the pandemic, things had to change. Her food shopping trips stopped and access to other support services were on hold.

As Mum’s dementia worsened, the telecare support was increased to keep her safe and thankfully the carers were soon able to attend again. I appreciated the support remote sensors gave me when Progress Lifeline's Alarm Response Centre would call to say there had been an activation.

The technology and alarm/sensor monitoring service that is available 24/7, 365 days a year, offers reassurance you may not fully appreciate until you are in a caring role as a family member. The peace of mind was very comforting and I will be forever grateful for the excellent service myself and my family received.