Hi,after looking after my severly disabled son for nearly 40years he has now moved out of home into a local Mencap house.We are thinking of the future when we,as parents, can not care for him.We are lucky to find a lovely home with wonderful staff.He has only been there for two weeks and we have had a few teething problems but so far so good with him. The problem is me.I am finding it very hard letting go and having to cope with all the free time I now have.I would love to hear how other carers have adjusted to this situation. How did you cope?
Two weeks is no time at all! Just think of it a bit like a bereavement, it takes a long time to adjust. When my son first lived away from home I felt like "Rat of the Year" as it took a long time for him to settle down, but he's very happy in his new home doing things he would never have done while mum was around.
To start with all that time is a bit bewildering. I now enjoy having time to go to the beautician to have my eyebrows etc. done, and every so often treat myself to a facial or massage.
I now have time to meander round the shops, rather than a mad dash. If I want to make a special cake or generally fiddle around in the kitchen, I can.
If funds are a bit tight, then try being a holidaymaker at home and do some of the things they do like eating an ice cream and watching the boats at the Quay.
Best of all, I love being able to have a nice long soak in the bath, having time to wash and style my hair properly, and snuggling down under the quilt with time to read a "silly" novel. Do I feel guilty? Not a bit. I always do my very best for my son, now I'm doing my very best for me too. I deserve it, so do you.
Congratulations, and well done for taking steps to make your son live independently in his own home. It must be difficult to get used to it but it is the price we pay for being given the gift of parenthood. With the experience you have had perhaps you would like to join a local Mencap branch. I am a chair of mine – and I find it an ideal way of keeping up to date with what is going on in the area, meeting parents and people with learning difficulties. With the experience that you have gained I am sure you could be of help to many other parents who have to make such difficult decisions when their child leaves home. I would suggest that parents plan for this early though, however difficult it might be. The earlier you plan the more choices your child will have. Let us not forget that our children however disabled they might be do have the the right to choice.