Esmond Saqui returned from Spain to care for his elderly mum when she was diagnosed with advanced dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease and could no longer care for herself.
His mum Melita, 90, was living in an almshouse until two years ago, but when her condition began to gradually grow worse, Esmond decided it was time to return to the UK after 28 years away.
“I was ringing her from Spain to help her take her medication and flying back every two months to see her, but in the end I decided I needed to come home. She could no longer take care of herself and was burning pans and forgetting things, so I decided that I needed to come home to take care of her,” said Esmond, 64.
He rented a bungalow in Great Cheverell, near Devizes, Wiltshire and moved his mum in with him and is now her full-time carer. He cooks, cleans and helps her in and out of the bath.
The thought of becoming a carer or retiring had never crossed Esmond’s mind. He had worked in the food and wine industry and was enjoying the role.
He initially found the care system difficult to navigate, having lived out of the country for such a long time.
“I was really out of touch with how to get some help. Sometimes you don’t know what exists until you find it, so finding help took some time,” he said.
He also said it can be a little isolating where they live. Because they haven’t lived there very long, they haven’t established the sense of community they would have done had there been living there for many years.
“I sometimes get mum to do a little ironing, which is more for exercise, but she is quite fragile. I bought Mum a wheelchair so we can get out sometimes, weather permitting .The garden we have is very nice to sit outside as well.”
“The saddest thing is to have a conversation as she doesn’t remember things. Occasionally I show her old photos and talk to her about them. She does enjoy and appreciate food, so that is one thing that we can share in,” said Esmond.
Esmond now receives help from a Carers Trust supported charity, Carer Support Wiltshire, along with a number of other charities, which provides funds for him to purchase respite care. This comes from an elderly neighbour, who although she is 80, knows his mum well and is able to sit with her, should he need to go out.
He said: “The main person who could help change the situation is your GP, as they are the person being cared for is most in contact with. They could have information available for carers in their surgeries or have a mailing list to help people make their contact with others.”