Daughter who has not been able to hug her mother, 78, with dementia
Daughter who has not been able to hug her elderly mother, 78, with dementia in nine MONTHS fears it’s now ‘very unlikely’ she will see her over Christmas
- Jules Walton not not hugged her mother since care home lockdown in February
- Mother Ann is resident at Grosvenor Care Home in Alvechurch, Worcestershire
- The 78-year-old has required 24-7 care since March 2018 due to her dementia
- Ms Walton says ‘very unlikely’ she will get to spend time with her at Christmas
A daughter who has not hugged her elderly mother since her care home was plunged into lockdown earlier this year now feels it ‘very unlikely’ she will be able to see her parent over Christmas.
Jules Walton, a 50-year-old company director from Stratford Upon Avon, has not been able to embrace her mother, Ann, since February 20 when her care home imposed a strict lockdown.
Ann, 78, who is a resident at Grosvenor Care Home in Alvechurch, Worcestershire, has required 24-7 care since March 2018 because of her dementia.
At the end of August, managers at the care home briefly relaxed their regulations, allowing family members to enter the home for a socially-distanced hour-long visit, once a week.
However, just two weeks after, when the second wave of coronavirus hit the country, the care home’s managers instantly reverted back to complete lockdown.
Jules Walton, 50, from Stratford Upon Avon, who has not been able to hug her elderly mother with dementia Ann (pictured together), 78, since February now feels it ‘very unlikely’ she will get to see her for Christmas
Ms Walton says she now feels it ‘very unlikely’ she, her older sister Andrea, or Ann’s 82-year-old husband, Brian, be able to spend any time with her this Christmas.
She said: ‘Being back in full lockdown now, we can do window visits to the home and video calls, too, but you just don’t know whether this will cause any upset or confusion, not to mention how this leaves you feeling personally.
‘It feels like this second wave is going to ruin the rest of 2020 completely, not that any part of this year has been good.
‘The last two Christmases I’ve been to see mum in the morning with presents, dad would visit after Christmas dinner, and then Andrea would see her in the afternoon with more presents.
‘This way mum had her family all day and felt loved and supported when we couldn’t have her at home. We don’t even want to think about Christmas this year. It will be simply unbearable, not being with her on a day when every family has to be together.
‘Covid has stripped that away from our family more than I could have ever imagined.
‘Since lockdown, it feels like you’re grieving for mum without losing her. We know and respect this pandemic is affecting everyone in different ways, but we’re finding this situation with mum so physically and mentally testing.
‘Wanting to give mum a massive hug, a hug that we’re all so desperately in need of, feels like such a distant memory. That’s all we want for Christmas.’
Ms Walton said her mother first began showing signs of dementia eight years ago and after suffering a mini-stroke in March 2018 she was offered a place in the Grosvenor’s Nursing Home.
She continued: ‘Mum first started showing signs of dementia about eight years ago – forgetting her parents had died, constantly asking to ‘go home’ when she was at home, mixing people’s ages up.
‘It was a massively distressing time for all of us, fighting for a diagnosis, knowing what a tough road we had ahead of us.
‘The pressure her dementia put on everyone was crushing, including our dad, who really struggled at first.
‘After suffering a mini-stroke in March 2018, mum was finally properly assessed and offered a place in the Grosvenor’s Nursing Home, five minutes from their home.
‘All the horror stories about neglect and malpractice were instantly dispelled when we met the nurses and carers at the home, who treated their residents as if they were members of their own family.
‘It really was heart-melting to see the lengths they would go to, to make life as pleasant and comfortable for mum and the others. Nothing was ever too much trouble.
‘Every single day, without fail, my dad, Andrea and I would visit mum – dad would go at 2.30pm, I’d go after work at 3.30pm and my sister would go at 5pm. She deserved nothing less, and we wanted to make her feel loved and supported when she needed us most.
‘When we were told in mid-February that the home was barring all visitors, of course it made sense for them to put the wellbeing of their residents first.
Ms Walton said her mother first began showing signs of dementia eight years ago and was offered a place at the nursing home in 2018
‘Not seeing mum was like a knife in our hearts, but we knew this was for her benefit, and the benefit of all the residents. We felt so lost without her, so worried she’d become frightened and even more confused. With potential to head downhill, I hated the thought she might feel we had abandoned her.
‘The carers in the home did everything they could to keep spirits up and maintain some degree of normality in what were obviously very unusual circumstances – even down to doing the hair and nails of all the residents themselves.
‘We regularly video-called mum on one of the carer’s iPads, which was a mixed bag. Seeing and talking to her was obviously so important, but at times she would become very confused, sometimes she wouldn’t speak to us, and when she would simply say, pleading: ”Come back!”, it broke our hearts.’
As the country continued to grapple with the pandemic, Ms Walton described how key dates became ‘hard to handle’ and she felt ‘powerless’.
She continued: ‘Andrea and I just felt powerless. Dad had had a hip replacement in early February, and was also feeling very empty and alone without his visits to mum, so we had his feelings and welfare to add in, too.
Ann , who requires 24-7 care, is a resident at Grosvenor Care Home in Alvechurch, Worcestershire
‘Key dates were particularly hard to handle. On Mother’s Day all we could do was post her cards to open, which had to be quarantined for three days.
‘For her 78th birthday in April we weren’t allowed to visit. Andrea and I did one ”wave through the window” visit, but I’m not sure if mum really understood what was going on. Andrea and I walked back to our car with tears streaming down our faces, not wanting mum to see us so upset.
‘The next after her birthday, the home called to say she’d had a seizure, which was terrifying. Again, we weren’t allowed to go and see her, to hold her hand and tell her everything would be ok. Being stripped of that ability to comfort those you love in their times of need is soul-crushing.
‘Fortunately, the care the nurses and carers at the home managed to stabilise mum.
‘My sister and I agreed after speaking with the doctors for mum not to be sent to hospital; the risks of Covid were simply too frightening to consider.
‘God forbid if mum did pass, but at least she would be in the home surrounded by people who cared for her, not frightened and alone.’
This year, Ms Walton walked 850,000 steps to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society.
She added: ‘Supported from the start by Alzheimer’s Society, who helped educate Andrea and me on how to manage mum and her dementia, I then threw myself into their ‘Step Up To Dementia’ fundraising campaign – walking 850,000 steps, each step representing the number of people in the UK with dementia.
‘I would walk the return 28-miles trip to work most days, as well as walking every other chance I had.
‘I decided to up my target to a round 1 million, and finished my millionth step on 29th May at the care home, where I was greeted by a cheering crowd of nurses and carers with banners, bunting and more, the residents waving from inside the windows.
‘Mum was sat in her chair in the doorway. My heart melted, and of course my instinct was to go straight to her but I wasn’t allowed.
‘The staff called me over to them. I would’ve given anything for a hug, no amount of money would have been too much.
‘She was wheeled back inside, and I put my hand against hers through the window, trying to hold back the tears. I just wanted to feel the warmth in her hands again, to hold her in my arms and tell her: ”Don’t worry, it’s all going to be ok.”
‘I ended up adding another 1.5 million steps to my total, equivalent to around 1,000 miles, a way to distract myself until this horrific pandemic was finally nearing an end.
‘When we got the news that Covid infection rates had fallen sufficiently, the home allowed family members to visit residents for one hour a week.
‘We were over the moon, so excited to see mum – but wearing masks, gloves, aprons and distanced from mum, we really didn’t know if mum would know who we were. Everything felt so wrong.’
To sponsor Ms Walton, go to: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising
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