I looked after my mum who had dementia. It was really too much for me as my brother and sister didn’t even bother to phone to see how she was doing. So, I was left to do everything on my own. I was already struggling with depression, but I loved her and wanted to look after her.
However, I did not comfort her enough, I was that exhausted with just the daily tasks to offer her much more. She needed more comfort. Also, I bought her a laptop to type on the year before, but the week before she died I brought it out and every letter I pointed to on the keyboard, she got wrong, through the exhaustion I lost my patience with the typing and took the laptop from her and said, ‘We’ll try another time.’ But there wasn’t another time because she died and now all I feel is guilty for not giving her the comfort she needed and taking the laptop from her. I think I just broke.

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Dear @daft4killie

I apologise for the delay in not responding sooner. Looking after someone with dementia can be very hard and exhausting as the condition takes over the person.

You have nothing to feel guilty about as anyone in your situation would have done the same. From experience with working on a hospital ward with dementia patients, it is very hard work and extremely exhausting as when the condition takes over more and more, the more demanding someone can possibly become. It is not them; it is the condition which they have no control over. Dementia can cause memory disorder, personality changes and impaired reasoning. Your mum may not have remembered you took the laptop of her. Please hold onto this, dementia changes the person.

You were there for your mum when she needed it and you gave her your time even when you were struggling with depression. That is incredible of you and also not easy hence why you were exhausted.

You have been an amazing daughter by doing what you did at the time. Not everyone can care and look after a dementia relative. You were not to know there would not be ‘another time’. It is hard not to replay the situation, but you must be gentle with yourself. Self-care is so important. Think of all the good and positive times you had with your mum. That would have been of great comfort to your mum and just being with her would have been of great comfort to her too.

If you need someone to talk to, there is the Samaritans on 116 123. This is a free number. They are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Please continue to reach out, you are not alone. Take care.