Sarthe. Caregiver for her husband with Alzheimer’s: “I want moments for me”

Being a relative today has become the daily routine of thousands of people. © pressmaster – stock.adobe.com

If we want to make a topic about caregivers, we would like to get in touch with one of those who have participated in the education that the municipality offers. The brand “Alzheimer’s helping city”La Ferté-Bernard offers training to caregivers in order to have more weapons in relation to illness.

The mother, a pretext

When we contact Françoise, she is in doubt, “I do not usually present myself”, she slips on the other end of the line. Surely one occupational hazard “ of her care situation. We put our person in the background.

Wrong maybe, but a reality! She admits to having trained for her mother, who has since died … Then she almost starts whispering.

Finally, my mother, even though she had the disease, she was a pretext to prepare for the future with my husband. He has been showing signs of the disease for several years.

Only Alain * does not accept it. “He’s with me there, come by the house and let’s talk about it,” Françoise finally launched.

The appointment is made. On a Monday morning at 9.30 the gate opens. Françoise takes care of the reception. “I sent my husband to shop so we could have some time. We’re sitting at the dining table. The file submitted during his training is open!

The discussion follows. First on her husband, gone downtown. “Small routine errands, sending a letter, picking up the bread, he does it without too much worry.”

“Leave as much independence as possible”

Isn’t it dangerous to leave Alain, 72, alone this way and drive a car?

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No, I want to give him as much autonomy as possible, it’s in my nature. If he has a chin, so annoying, it will be hardware. No one is insured against an accident. But behind the wheel, so far so good. We’re going down to Marseille, to see our daughter, and it may be that she’s traveling all the way.

In recent years, Françoise has had to support her mother in dealing with Alzheimer’s disease. Welcome her home! “She died at the age of 89 under Jul 2021“, she remembers.

With an ounce of pride, she slips anyway, ”she recognized me to the last. »

Located in Saint-Julien, she visited her every day. “I still tried to stay one day a week.” His mother also experienced a passage in one host family. “She was tied to the bed and did nothing. So okay, they’re sick, but that’s not why they should be locked up.”

The education he received in June last year was also an opportunity to better understand his mother. “I knew it would be helpful for my mother and for my husband …” she notes as she flips through the nursing staff’s instructions obtained during the training.

“Give it a boost”

For a full two days, thanks to advice from Lucile Nicolas, a psychologist, Françoise learned a lot. “It gives a boost. And one more view of the disease, for we read a lot of things on the internet. »

She also remembers those “moments of sharing with other caregivers. We ate together, we talked a lot about our situations. In such a moment, I reacted like that, it went better.”

It is not only the interaction with the professional in this education. The nurses met at the end of the year a few months after the training for a little review!

It’s been five years now that Alain “forgets”, quite simply. Françoise gives a few more examples.

A few days ago he had lost the keys to the house. But it was my fault, it was not him. He is in denial, he is stubborn. Besides, he has an obsession, it’s taxes, it’s pretty crazy.

Sometimes Alain goes through “episodes of depression. He has medication for that.”

“Completely confused”

Recently, after being hospitalized for an operation, he found himself completely disoriented at home he could no longer recognize anything, ”says Françoise with difficulty.

Alzheimer’s disease? “We are not talking about it, it is a word that should not be uttered. “But there is worse.” The most frustrating thing is that it does not appear. You will see when it arrives. He manages to deceive, finally he does not speak. »

By doctor, ”When we have an appointment, he sits down and says that everything is fine. Continually. Alzheimer’s patients have the answer! »

This disease “which does not kill”, Françoise wants the research to develop on it. ” It is a mandatory need to stop this disease. »

A few minutes later, Alain returns with baguette under his arm. He sits down at the table and the discussion starts again … about Françoise’s mother. At times, the sexager is on a thread: she talks about her mother, but in an instant, she awakens her husband’s memory loss.

“Trust the patient”

Since training, Françoise feels calmer, though at times it bubbles inside.

You need to communicate. Even if it is not retained, it is a pity. It is a lot of energy, but you have to trust the patient. We can not put it back to its previous configuration, so we can not act as if there was nothing. Facts are there, it diminishes a person.

Now she admits: “I want moments for me, or simply get away from it all on the computer the morning “.

Today, the couple of former farmers have a separate room. “He spends his time sleeping. He eats, he goes to bed to watch TV and sleep. But at night he comes to see if I sleep well.”

After more than an hour of discussion, our interview is over. Before our departure, she assures recommend “education, I am very satisfied. Do not hesitate to go there. It is very well made, with documentation. »

As she follows us to the gate, she slips into despair, “there is nothing more we can do, not even To go on holiday“.

* Names have been changed

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