I have been caring for my wife for three years. During the past two years mainly because of her mobility problems, arising from a fall in our home which resulted in a broken hip, wrist, broken upper arm near the shoulder and a dislocated collar-bone. An emergency operation followed, then a few weeks in a rehabilitation centre near our home, followed physiotherapy at home. All seemed well and progress was being made until the pain increased in the upper arm and mobility decreased there. A subsequent scan revealed that one of the two nails pinning her arm together had moved. That was September 2017.
Eventually, an operation to replace her shoulder was scheduled for February this year. When we turned up for the op, the surgeon decided not to go ahead because my wife had acute facial dermatitis. Since then. we having been waiting for a new date and several pre-op assessments later it has arrived, 2 January 2019.
During the past few months, it has been noticed by our GP and the District Nurse who calls each week to monitor my wife’s eczema, that I and my wife are getting increasingly fractious with each other. And I must confess that I am very tired and of course, my wife is in a lot of pain. The only respite we have is when some old friends call round and while I go out for a couple of pints, my pal’s wife keeps my lady company and is prepared to help her with her personal needs. Anyway, arrangements were made for a Social Worker to call round. A detailed assessment was done, very professionally, and the offer of respite care for my wife followed. We were given a choice of three places. One was too far away and was immediately rejected. The second I discovered during a few minutes online was a matter of concern for the Care Quality Commission. Lots of problems. I visited the third and was impressed by the staff and the general ambience but none of the rooms had en-suite bathrooms, essential for my wife. So I told the Social Worker that we were not going ahead.
After accepting what I said, ten minutes later she came back with the offer of a place for ten days where my wife had undergone the rehab last year. So we snapped up the offer, as my lady had been happy there. The arrangement was that we would pay 25% of the cost, about £140 a week to us. No problem.
So I took my lady there. But we discovered that she was not to stay where she had been before, on the first floor of this building, but on the ground floor - a care home for permanent residents, who could no longer look after themselves at home, because they had some form of dementia. That I discovered the following day when I went to visit. My wife was very unhappy - there was nobody with whom she could communicate. I discussed the situation with the lady in charge and she agreed my wife was in the wrong place if she was looking for social interaction. The Social Worker had got it wrong, although doing her best to be helpful. After one night away, I brought my wife back home, where she feels more comfortable. We may have rows, but at least we are talking to each other.
Was I wrong? Are we being ungrateful? Are all care homes populated by folks who are unable to interact normally? I don’t know and feel vaguely guilty but I am not sure why.