Friday, 20 February 2009

Earlier this week we took a trip out to call on a family member who cares for their spouse, who suffers from Alzheimers disease. We went with the intention of lending support, practical or otherwise at whatever level it would be accepted.

When we arrived I realised much more help than we could give in a couple of hours without the older kids would allow us to, a new or renewed commitment to be on hand, present and available was needed. But it is not the larger things which are most urgent. The picture shows some of the disused medications which were left around the house, a potentially lethal cocktail which out family member had no idea what to do with, so he was forced to keep them on display so he knows they have not been taken by accident, we returned them to the pharmacy for him. New medication has been issued in liquid form to get passed some compliance issues, but they secured it with childproof caps - which are also adult proof especially if you suffer from arthritis as he does. We prized the childproof part of the cap off with some pliers and hey-presto! I syringe (which fortunately he was unable to use due to arthritis) was issued with the medication, it was half the size of a dose with markings too small for him to read, if he'd been able to operate it he would have been giving the wrong dose of all this medication all that time.

Even the help that has been received is producing it's own problems. One day a week respite care means that they must get up at 6am just to make sure she is ready for collection at 9am. Although finally successful in getting some appropriate medications the labels are written too small, they medications themselves must be ordered in especially from specific pharmacies and the support for side effects etc is non-existent and thats if you can get them open in the first place.

In short the assistance they are receiving is woeful and although I can't deny the disease has an awful effect on its sufferers the effect on their carers is equally harsh. My main concern is that this carer will end up hospitalised a long time before his spouse purely because no one is helping to meet his needs.

1 comment:

*-~EIGNA~-* said...

Oh G this is awful! what on earth is this country coming to? As you know my mil is the carer for her husband whom has alzheimers, he too has his medications yet luckily she keeps them out of childrens reach but i know too well what you mean about the screw tops etc for the elderly, and the small print they have to endure to keep themselves from providing an overdose. It is so good you were there to assist but you cannot be there all the time and hopefully you have stopped an accident happening in what you have accomplished on this just one visit.