My Daughter Marion
" I have cared for my daughter, who has Down’s syndrome, all her life and we had a good life together. It was only when she was getting older and started showing the first signs of dementia that life became a lot more difficult for both of us.
She kept forgetting what she was doing, and even how to do things, like washing herself, that she had done well all her life up until that point. She also became more stubborn and even angry at times, and neither of us were sure why. She could not explain and I could not help because she did not know what was wrong.
This was a difficult time for us and I, who had always been reluctant to call in social services for help, did in the end call them for some help and advice. After a long time, and a diagnosis of Alzheimer type dementia, it was agreed that it was time for my lovely daughter to go into residential care of some sort. It was a very difficult decision for me to make, as I had always cared for my daughter, but I wasn’t getting any younger and she was getting increasingly difficult to cope with. After a long wait and a good look around, and a few visits for my daughter and I to Stratfield Lodge, we decided this would be the best place and she moved in the December.
My daughter seemed to settle after an initial spell of confusion where she kept trying to leave, probably trying to go home, but she had already reached the stage of dementia where she did not really understand the reasons for moving, or could not retain them for long enough.
She soon started to settle down and began to join in the various activities in the day room, and began to feel at home and to make friends. This was a whole new adventure for me as well, learning to share the work that needed to be done with my daughter. I got to know all the care staff and they became my friends as well. We could talk together about my daughter, how best to help her and how her life could be the best it could.
What I really liked about Stratfield Lodge was that I was as welcome and made to feel at home as much as my daughter was, together, we had moved onto a new phase of life. Although now living away from me, my daughter was getting extra stimulation and friends, and I could keep in touch with her as much as I liked.
My daughter’s dementia and other health problems meant that her capacity for life has diminished a lot in the last year or so, but I am so relieved that she is well cared for by people who know her and me, and always put her best at the heart of all they do. She does need a lot of physical caring for and I am so pleased with the way she is looked after, getting other health professionals in when necessary and making she is comfortable and enjoying life to the best of her ability as far as she can.
I had real concerns about my daughter moving into residential care, but it was always a worry, what would happen as I got older, who would look after her? Now I am happy that she is looked after brilliantly and will continue to be so, whatever the future may bring."