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The Inadvertent Carer
Nursing Home

By Nick Gilmore

Published: 31 Dec, 2023

The Inadvertent carer

The Beginning

In 2010, both my parents and both my in-laws were fit and moderately well. By the end of 2013 we had lost my Mother-in-Law to Bronchiectasis and my Dad to a series of heart attacks, minor strokes, vascular dementia and, ultimately, pneumonia. Over the next few years, my Father-in-Law’s health began to fail and he became increasingly dependant on my wife (mostly), a small army of neighbours and volunteers and myself to maintain his independence. In January 2024 the cause of his worsening breathlessness was found. He was diagnosed with Mesothelioma. 

My Mum, though, seemed to sail through without any major dramas until early 2023 when a series of catastrophic events – pneumonia, sepsis and a series of strokes – left her needing medical assistance 24/7 and confined to a nursing home.

The Outcome

My somewhat flexible working arrangements allowed me to be my Mum’s most frequent visitor. Recognising that she wasn’t just my Mum, I wanted to keep my siblings up to date with her progress. A WhatsApp group seemed the obvious answer. Far more convenient than a series of phone calls, texts or whatever.

The record of Mum’s physical and psychological condition turned into a record of her passage through the NHS and Social Services systems and nursing homes too. The staff, patients and residents that I met along the way became my social life so they figure prominently.

Initially, I was experiencing frustration at not being able to work in my planned creative outlets. But I soon realised that providing the record WAS my creative outlet. It was also extremely therapeutic and helped me process and unpack what I was having to deal with.

When the record began to get a wider audience I was encouraged to make it public as it might be useful for people going through the same experience.

Publishing it here seemed to be the obvious first step. If only to explain to people who were expecting to see more wood, stone and photography projects why my social media accounts had gone so quiet.

You’ll find links to each day’s update below…

 

 

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Sunday

Sunday

Sunday Eldest Sister and her kids did the visit today. For the first time in ages, their visit hadn't coincided with...

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Saturday

Saturday

Saturday Lesley needed to go to her Dad's in the morning so that gave The Dog and I a chance to go on a longer,...

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Friday

Friday

Friday Went to The Home at about 9am. Mum's not-rightness had been playing on my mind. The Manager was with Gina in...

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Thursday

Thursday

Thursday I visited The Home on my way back from the gym. During the week I had been plagued by agonising knots in my...

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Wednesday

Wednesday

Wednesday A lovely start to the day. Bright sunshine, not too windy and not so much rain overnight that the footpaths...

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Tuesday

Tuesday

Tuesday The Home was in that In-between-ey sort of state when I arrived. The 9-to-5-ers had gone, the residents were...

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Monday

Monday

Monday It was peaceful and quiet at The Home today. I was grateful for that as I was still in a state of Mental Energy...

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Sunday

Sunday

Sunday A trip to Father-in-Law was necessary today and a toolkit was required. I had to attend to some of the worst...

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Saturday

Saturday

Saturday The Home was peaceful when I arrived. The residents had just had lunch and half the day shift were having...

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