CAROLINE Forbes, from Scotstounhill, is full-time carer for her mother Margaret, 82, who was diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2013.

The former architect’s technician, who is now unable to work due to the demands of looking after her mother, is apprehensive about the future care costs as her condition deteriorates.

“My mum was a very independent woman.” she says. “She brought up two daughters and a son on her own after my dad left her and dealt with everything that life threw at her.

“She had been living on her own in a flat in Bellshill. She had a couple of wee incidents when she fell so I started going over every Sunday and that’s when I noticed her behavioural changes.

“You would go into the fridge and all the food from the previous weekend was there.

“The neighbours were complaining that the drains kept back filling. When we went out we saw fish batter, teabags and porridge in the drains. All the stuff that mum was eating. She was disposing of it down the toilet pan and over the neighbour’s fence.

“On a Friday she always bought herself a single fish and one day I went in and they told me she had been in three times for the same order.”

Ms Forbes took her mother to the GP for the standard, memory-based dementia assessment, which focuses on questions including date of birth and she scored well in this test and a couple of subsequent ones.


“It was more her behavioural changes though.” she says. “By this time she had been found wandering in the street in her nightie with her rollers in at 12 at night.

“She was then assessed by a psychiatrist and was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.

“The behavioural part is more of the Alzheimer’s part and the forgetfulness is the vascular side. I didn’t know anything about dementia, but as you look after them you can differentiate between the types.

“For the first two years after she was diagnosed I lived with her in her flat in Bellshill, which is North Lanarkshire, but they’ve not got great services.

“When you first start looking after someone with dementia, the amount of information you are given, it’s a minefield.

“I felt as if I couldn’t leave my mum on her own, in case she wanders so it’s 24/7. The biggest challenge is finding places that can keep them safe, feed them and entertain them during the day so I can go get my shopping or go to the dentist or do the things I need to do.

“My mum fell and broke her hip and is now practically immobile and because of her dementia she won’t follow the physio’s instructions. The care at Gartnavel hospital has been fantastic though. They have said to me, we think she would be better in 24-hour nursing care and I agree with them.

“I’m now looking at homes and trying to find one I’m happy with. My mum owns her own flat, it’s probably valued at £60,000. So I’m going to have to sell that to pay for her care but I am apprehensive about the costs.

“People with dementia should get free care like anyone else with a progressive illness.

“Because my mum owns a property but lives with me in Glasgow, I have to apply for an exemption for council tax.

“So every year I have to fill out that form, where it asks if she’s likely to make an improvement, which is ridiculous. It’s bureaucracy like that, that makes the situation even more difficult.”

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