DEAR BEL

Daily Mail - - Confidential - TINA

I AM 73 and have been mar­ried for 54 years — with one daugh­ter, who lives and works abroad.

My hus­band is 81 and suf­fer­ing from vas­cu­lar de­men­tia. He has ex­pres­sive dys­pha­sia, in­con­ti­nence and is al­most com­pletely im­mo­bile, ne­ces­si­tat­ing two car­ers call­ing four times a day.

They are ex­cel­lent and give me lots of sup­port and in gen­eral I am bet­ter off than many other peo­ple.

But af­ter 15 years of this de­gen­er­a­tive dis­ease I am cop­ing very badly. I dread wak­ing in the morn­ing and I am start­ing to feel very re­sent­ful. This is not how I imag­ined my golden years.

My daugh­ter is a great sup­port and has of­fered to re­turn home to help with her fa­ther’s care (she has al­ready ar­ranged a shorter work­ing year in or­der to come home more fre­quently), but I can­not even think of it.

The ob­vi­ous so­lu­tion of course is a res­i­den­tial home, but I gave him my word this would never hap­pen.

I try to visit my daugh­ter as of­ten as I can. But the ef­fort and for­ward plan­ning needed make things very dif­fi­cult. A coun­sel­lor was ex­cel­lent, but funds ran out, then I was lim­ited to only a few ses­sions on the NHS.

I have con­tacted as­so­ci­a­tions such as Age UK, but they seem to miss the point — ar­rang­ing lovely out­ings and lunches for car­ers, but for­get­ting the need for respite care for loved ones while we ar­range our own en­ter­tain­ment!

On the scale of things, we’ve had a good life and per­haps it’s wrong of me to com­plain, but at the mo­ment I just feel like walk­ing away from it all. Can you help?

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