Like many others I never used to really regarded myself as a carer.
A few years ago my (now) 88 year old Mum was diagnosed with vascular dementia. At the time, we made plans for Mum to live with us but she then changed her mind at the last minute… so we still live in a rural environment that is totally unsuitable for an elderly person and she lives alone - 1.5 hours away - without any formal support. (Carers disrupted her routine and increased her confusion)
Fast forward 3 years and after finding it impossible to cope with the demands of full-time working as well as coping with visiting my Mum twice a week, I make the decision to take early retirement.
In some respects, it’s made life so much easier insofar as I now have the time to talk her through whatever problem she’s having at the time (normally another delusion) and have the time to drive down if need be.
I really don’t intend for things to sound rosy because the reality is just so different.
Financially, it’s become awful because although I no longer work, I still spend about 8 hours a week travelling to/from Mum’s or the shops on her behalf etc, but the time spent on actual “caring” only averages out at 29 hours per week so I can’t claim carer’s allowance.
At times, I find it so difficult to cope with the 12th phone call in an hour/ the 10th time the same question being asked in a 30 minute period/ the need to drive 15 miles to buy something that wasn’t on our shopping list but has become “essential” prior to my next visit/ a 3 hour round trip because she’s lost her keys.
That aside, I guess the fact that we’ve survived and she continues to live alone during this topsy turvy time is a bonus.)
You can’t do the 29 hours of caring without the 8 hours of travelling, so to my mind, that gets added on and takes you over the 35 hours, you’re probably over that anyway if you were more fussy with the time and added in all of your waiting time etc - it’s not just the time that you’re actually doing something physical that counts, it’s the time it takes to achieve everything.
Lost keys? Secrete another couple of sets somewhere in her house and only reveal their location when necessary, (check occasionally that she’s not already discovered them).
Turn your phone off a bit more often or get an answer-phone would also be my advice, definitely don’t get into the routine of answering so many calls.