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When The Tables Are Turned

This weekend I read an article on Minnie Driver’s forthcoming book in which she refers to getting to the stage in her life – she’s in her early 50’s – where her mortality is on her mind as well as that of her elderly parents. She talked about her parents’ increasing age and frailties, and that nobody had warned her of these impending events. And I must say that this really resonated with me.

At the time that the pandemic started in 2020, my mother became ill and severe depression was initially diagnosed. Without going into detail on how this developed further over the following 2 years (the story is way too long and personal and not for me to share) I can genuinely say that it completely knocked me for six.  I had recently started Liberty HR Recruitment, a brand-new business, five short months before, then the pandemic occurred and I contracted Covid at the same time, and I still experience ‘Long Covid’ issues to this day.

As someone also in their 50’s, a parent being so poorly was very emotionally and physically draining for me. My mother is my sole parent and I am her only daughter as well as her eldest child, and so she has come to rely quite heavily on me in her later life. It’s funny how the tables often turn later in life isn’t it and the carer becomes the cared-for? My mother’s reliance on me was to increase even more when she became unwell and I began to find it hard to be in more than one place at a time.

After 2 years her symptoms have worsened and she is now temporarily in a nursing home. It has become clear that she has a form of dementia and depression is just one of the many symptoms of this cruel disease. To fight for a diagnosis such as this has been a long and tiring process and we still haven’t finished, although I know we are almost there and a plan for her ongoing care will soon be finally settled.

Yet, naively, I don’t think I ever thought that my mother would get dementia. I had no previous experience of the disease and I also thought she was invincible. So now there’s not much more I can do but hold onto my memories and enjoy the occasional good times when they happen. I can help provide love and practical support for her whenever I can. I try to ignore the insults and hatred when they periodically happen and are directed at me. And I remember this is not really her, but is just a symptom of a wicked disease.

For those out there struggling in similar situations, know that you are not alone and that you really do have to look after yourself first of all. Self-care is of the utmost importance as you will never cope with everything life throws at you without it. And of course, I am always here if you need a chat 💛🧡💚 x

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