I’m to live as a prisoner

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I celebrated my 93rd last week, in respite care.

I ended up here after a short stay in hospital a few months ago. I’m not sure what happened. I told them I was getting old, I didn’t feel well and my legs wouldn’t support my weight.

They talk a lot about me, I have been to a lot of meetings recently. I can’t remember what they are about. My family have been there and they explain what is going on, but I don’t understand it all. I don’t listen to it all.

After one meeting, my daughter told me I had Alzheimer’s dementia and that is why I can’t remember things easily any more. I told her she was talking rubbish. She said that I keep asking the same questions over and over and I get facts confused, but that’s because they don’t speak clearly any more.

I’ve lived in my Sheffield council house for more than 50 years and although it’s a place I love and know well, things have changed a lot in my neighbourhood and in my life.

I can no longer leave the house on my own, and over the last year I have not felt confident to leave the house even when I am with people. I cannot do the things I used to enjoy so much.

I can’t deal with my correspondence and my money any more and the washing machine doesn’t seem to do what it’s supposed to do, although my daughter said she managed to work it with no problem.

The TV remote is a constant puzzle and I can’t hear people when they phone.

At the respite home they explained that when I go back home, my bed will be moved into my living room. Where they will find room for it, heaven knows. The room is cramped enough and I am not happy about that.

I thought I would be able to continue as before but they said I will no longer be able to go upstairs to have a bath or shower. They say that because of my zimmer frame I can’t use my downstairs toilet as there is a step and the doorways of this old house are too narrow.

They tell me they are making all these plans but I can’t keep up, I forget everything they say.

I have enjoyed being in this respite home as it has been very nice to be with people, to have someone to chat to when I feel like it and someone has looked after me and done everything for me.

Recently I’ve felt incapable of being on my own, frightened in case I fall and there is nobody to help. I forget to wear my alarm necklace.

I get so lonely without anyone around to talk to and I feel very depressed. Unfortunately, I forgot about all of these feelings when the people at the home asked me what I wanted to happen and I told them that I wanted to go home and therefore this is what they are planning.

My family keep getting upset when I talk about returning home, I don’t know why. Carers will visit throughout the day to dress, wash and feed me and put me to bed at night. I am expected to use a commode which will stay in my living room, the only room I am now allowed to occupy.

Isn’t that how prisoners live?

I know my memory is not very good these days, yet I can’t remember committing a crime, unless living too long has become a crime.

Kay Baldry, through the eyes of her mum