Just got back from Camp Breakaway and I must say it was duller than usual. I guess the rain and gale force winds had a lot to do with that. All the walks and outdoor games and a picnic on the lawns planned for yesterday had to be abandoned. And would you believe that today the sun was shining, the sky was blue and we all headed for home.
The dementia camp is not as jolly as the usual Frail Aged Camps as the "clients" are less able to participate. So we had quiet days and just the entertainers at night. I enjoyed it all, I managed to catch a couple of naps and that is always good. Ray as usual was the pampered pet and blossomed under the tender loving care of the volunteer carers. He was frequently clutched to the chest of some large lady to show she appreciated him. At my age the jealousy factor has gone but to him it is an added bonus, we don't have a lot of people in our lives that "love" us now.
On Wednesday, despite the damp conditions some kids set fire to a builders rubbish pile almost opposite the camp and the nearby pre-school children and staff got evacuuated to the hall. That caused a lot of fun as the littlies milled around the old folk and four small tots arrived in a cot on wheels. We had had the older kids entertain us that morning with a couple of little songs they were learning and they were not at all shy around the camp guests so it was a nice diversion for us all. The flames from the burning packing materials in the dumpster sent clouds of horrible black smoke into the damp grey sky but it was much more frightening in appearance than in actuality.
Today is Friday and the Community transport bus has just picked up Ray to go to Scallywags, I'll go to visit Mum when I had finished this and then do a small shopping session. I don't need much as we are leaving for Queensland on Sunday. I am looking forward to the trip as the countryside should be very green after all the rain we have had. You know when the sky is blue and the birds are nesting the rest of us feel pretty good too. Ah! Spring!, the bird is on the wing! (I forget who wrote that, if I did I would acknowledge it..lol.) The change in scenery as well as the break from home will do us all good.
The caregivers at the camp had some lectures during the week. It was actually a Carers Camp, partly funded by the government for Carers Week. I didn't learn a lot from the talks, I think we learned more from the interaction with the other carers. Like stroke dementia affects each individual in a slightly different way so although we could see the deficits how to deal with each individual's progress into the illness is not clear cut. I think it is harder for the male carers than the female ones. One older man said to me in tears: "She is supposed to be the one who looks after me." I guess that would be seen to be the normal way of things to him.
Support is so necessary to go on with the caring role. I am so grateful for what I have. Sure people let you down and some who "should" come to our aid don't, but that is beside the point for me. I access what care I can, I'm grateful for what I receive, I go on striving to give Ray the best care possible. That is what it is all about for me at this stage, nine years down the track from his major strokes. I still felt sorry for those couples who, it was evident, are still wishing for a miracle, or that they would wake up one morning and find it was just a horrible dream.
We can all say: "There, but for the grace of God, go I."