My Story: John and Mum

“My Mum lived on her own up in Perth/Scotland. I had a call from social services in Perth. My Mum had been reported by a building society as being in a state of confusion and wandering around the streets of Perth at risk.  

We had visited her yearly and phoned weekly, there might have been a few signs that she had dementia which we did not pick up on. She had some phrases that were repeated 'this road surface is in good condition and these trees are tall.' Also, she had not been well for a few years and I think my father who died suddenly had been protective of her. Plus, he had not discussed her health with us. During our phone calls she always told us of what she was up to in her local club and of bus trips she had been on. They were very convincing, and all made up as a false memory to replace her missing memory. 

My sister and I came up to Perth to get her the help she needed. We managed to get her memory tested and then an appointment with a consultant in a local hospital. She was admitted for several weeks before being moved to a care home. She had been diagnosed with Vascular Dementia and at the meeting with the consultant she thought I was her brother or father. Her memory seemed to go downhill from this point. Mum was in a care home in Perth for 5 years. The staff were very caring, and she was well looked after. 

We fortunately had just managed to get Power of Attorney in time to be able to look after everything for her. The stress and time involved in this, meant it was best for me to stop work and spend time sorting everything out in Scotland. I think she seemed to drop through the system, and maybe a lack of awareness or not wanting to get involved with her friends, neighbours, club, church, and us meant that she did not get the help she needed sooner. “ 

John Dalgarno writing about his mother, Doreen Stewart Dalgarno (1931 – 2018) 

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