Karen shares her experience of caring for her husband that lives in a care home:
My husband moved into a care home in July last year. Losing him to a care home was one of the worst things that has happened in my life and possibly in Kevin’s, but because of his dementia we are unable to discuss this. Although we have lots of friends who are affected by dementia, we somehow never thought that moving to a care home would be something that we would face. We always thought we would be able to cope. I suppose we both must have been in denial and perhaps this was the best way to live at the time.
When Kevin first moved into a care home it was horrendous. On reflection a lot of this was me coming to terms with how things are in care homes. He was and is well cared for and as far as I can tell he seems as happy as he can be in the circumstances.
Before Coronavirus hit us all, Kevin and I could still occasionally go out for short spells. I could bring him home for a cup of tea and sometimes even a meal, but could never be too sure how things would go. What did make me happy was that when he was home, he still always wanted to go out again (this was one of his symptoms before he moved into care) and so he was quite happy to go back to the care home. There he can walk around around in the home or the garden. At home there’s not very far he can walk, upstairs and downstairs then he had to be out again.
Coronavirus has now made things so much more difficult. Not being able to see him is heart breaking, but I do know he is cared for and am aware that he probably doesn’t realise I’m not going in. The staff at the home send me photos of him (when he is looking good!) and occasionally face time, but this only really upsets me as Kevin has no idea what is happening. Kevin is currently in isolation at the care home as he has had a high temperature and once the doctor was involved they had no alternative than to isolate him even though they don’t think he has the virus. The only worrying fact is that I’m aware that someone in the home has the virus and they are also in isolation. As most of the residents do walk around it is very difficult to keep them fully isolated. All I can do now is wait and pray he is safe and I will be able to see him again sometime soon.