For the past two years nine months I've been in despair at the lack of support in Lincolnshire for those living with dementia and those of us living alongside it. Today I discovered that there is lots and lots of support out there if you only know where to look and who to ask so now my two big questions are 'why did it take two years and nine months for me to be referred to the person who could signpost me to all of that support and why did it take just one phone call from her to prompt Adult Services at the Council to return my call'?
If you've been following this blog since the beginning you might remember that in December 2017 the doctor at the Memory Clinic uttered the words 'you have dementia so if you go through to reception someone will issue you with a prescription and we'll see you again in 12 months time'. That was it, no support, no signposting, nothing. It felt as though we were being sent home to wait for the end and, knowing nothing about dementia, that's what I thought we would do. Gradually, over the months and years that followed, I found people here and there who could help but nothing substantial and nothing that made me feel I wasn't on my own. Nicky from the Memory Clinic has been wonderful; I discovered (by accident) that there is a Dementia Carers Support Handbook developed by the County Council but not routinely given out; I discovered that I could have a carers assessment but that I was coping so well I probably wouldn't be entitled to any help; I discovered that there are Admiral Nurses coming into our village but, again, I was coping so well I probably wouldn't qualify and on and on. At every turn it seemed as though I needed to hit rock bottom and let our world implode before there would be any help. Well two weeks ago I hit rock bottom and phoned the doctors. During the conversation I was asked if I'd like to be referred to their 'Care Co-ordination Service' and, when I asked why I hadn't known about it before, was told it was because they usually dealt with over 65s (!!!!!) as though carers under 65 don't exist. There's obviously lots more to this story but the upshot is that
- Adult services are allocating Ash a social worker. The words 'hopefully it won't take too long' didn't inspire me with too much confidence of seeing someone soon but still ......
- I have a Carers Assessment booked for a week tomorrow to see what support I need.
- The Admiral Nurse team is being contacted on my behalf so that they can offer support.
- I have information about the council website where I can look for someone to spend time with Ash so I can have a day out if I want.