If today could be described in picture form, it would be my heart being squeezed in a clamp.

As I arrived at my parents’ today, my Mum was putting her shoes on. I had clearly told her that Dad’s speech therapy appointment at the hospital was just for Dad, and Dad alone. However, she seemed adamant she was going. I told her to make the most of the sunshine, she reluctantly gave in and stayed put.

As soon as Dad got into the car with me, those words “Soph, I cannot cope with Mum.”… He told me how she’d been shouting at him; She’d been shouting about the loss of her licence. Her frustration that life had changed. He also said she made him walk to town earlier today and he felt too exhausted to carry shopping home. (I had hoped that, Abbie, the lovely person who cleans their house, was right, when she thought they had got the bus). They hadn’t, my Mum had made Dad walk to town and back with her. I’d been on the phone to Adult Services a large part of the morning, but if I knew she was planning this, I’d have picked them up.

Dad was both physically and mentally exhausted and told me he needed “a break from Mum.” This plan for respite was of major importance now. As I took him into see the Speech Therapist, Dad asked if I could stay. She was a lovely person, asking how his swallowing was and eating etc. Dad wasn’t interested, he kept telling her that he needed respite. I was sat in the chair, trying to support Dad, but knowing my tears would get the better of me. So I had to leave to ring Adult Services for help.

Our Key Worker is nothing short of amazing. She has put up with my meltdowns all day. She told me the homes I could try. After my Dad’s therapy, I went home to get the ball rolling in terms of respite.

Anyone ever in this position, take time to think about your options. Out of haste, do not just choose the first home that can accommodate your needs. I have no knowledge of Residential homes in this area, so with my Key Worker and a lovely friend (Reenie xxx) guiding me with names of homes, I went about ringing them. The first three had no vacancies, and my need was urgent. The fourth call was such a relief to me. The Manager on the phone was fantastic. He had incredible empathy for the situation.

I am taking my Dad there tomorrow at 10am to see if we’re both happy with the home, with a view to staying there for a week of respite.

My Key worker phoned me again, and again I cried. I don’t know what it is about this woman, I think it’s because she’s just so understanding, but the poor woman has to deal with my meltdowns quite frequently. I’m not a person to show my emotions very easily to just anyone, so she’s obviously tapping into some part of me that can let go of my guard. So grateful for her right now.

As I went back to my parents’ to take Dad for his eye test, I had to explain to Mum that Dad was having respite this week. It’s fair to say, she was angry, hurt, and most importantly, heartbroken that he needs space from her. Dementia is cruel. Brain damage from a stroke is cruel. Life can be cruel. Sometimes, our positive outlook on life is damaged, today I feel my positivity has certainly taken a hit.


Reenie Hodder, your texts were a lifeline today, thank you xxxxx

I need to thank Gini too. So grateful we found each other again. You taught my children at Primary School, and now you’re teaching me to be strong. Some Teachers are born with a gift, that is certainly true of you xxxxxxxx


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