CARING for someone with Alzheimer’s disease can be a constant strain – and Gill Roberts is urging people to seek help and support when things get a bit too much.
Gill from Gloucester, has been the sole carer for her mum Sheila Stockwell since she was diagnosed with the condition in 2010 but has found it harder as the years have gone on.
She said: “I used to take my anger out on my husband because he could not understand how hard it was to look after mum.
“When she lived in her bungalow I would sometimes be woken up by a buzzer which was next to me. This went off if mum had left her bed for more than 20 minutes.
“Sometimes I would go round to make sure she was okay and then come back home to sleep. I would then wake up to go to work at 6.30am.
“I did not know who to talk to and how other people coped. Mum would visit Kimbrose Day Centre in Gloucester a few times a year. I made friends with other carers and set up a social group for us to meet, more for my husband to benefit from it.”
Gill also invited a speaker into her home to speak to Gill’s husband Mike and her two sons about Alzheimer’s.
Sheila now lives at the Chestnut Court Home in Quedgeley where Gill visits her regularly.
For Gill, who works at Sainsbury’s in Northgate Street, it was a long battle to get the best care for her mum.
Gill said: “When she was diagnosed there was no support. Three or four social workers would come and make notes. But they would say she is not a ‘priority’, because her condition was not that bad. But to me she was a priority.
“I must admit when she went into the care home in Quedgeley, I was not sure if it was the right decision. But the staff are amazing to all the residents. They couldn’t do enough for them.
“Mum is very happy but does not understand why she is there. She keeps asking for my dad. Before she got this condition she was active.
“I still see mum nearly everyday but it is heartbreaking to see her like this. But she is well looked after.”
Gill is now throwing herself into fundraising as a way of keeping focused and occupied.
She is raising money for a new mini bus for residents to use for day trips at the care home. To donate contact the home on 01452 720049.