Parkinson's disease

Isabelle - Interview 42

Age at interview: 60
Age at diagnosis: 44

Brief outline: Isabelle's mother who had had PD for 12 years came to live with her in 2002. It was not always easy to care for her and for her own young children. After an admission to hospital they agreed to move her to a nearby nursing home. This has worked well for all of them.

Background: Former nurse.

Audio & video

Isabelle’s mother was a state enrolled nurse who was 60 when she first developed PD. At first she lived independently but when it was no longer practical for her to live independently in her own house she moved to a flat in order to be near to one of her sons. When her son died in 2002 Isabelle who had been living in the Netherlands moved back to England with her young family and took her mother to live with her. They converted a ground floor room to a sleeping and living room with it’s own toilet facilities. Both Isabelle and her husband had full time jobs and they had to arrange for carers to some in and check on her mother during the day. They found that carers from the council were unpredictable so that her mother might not be washed and dressed till mid-day. There was always concern about falls occurring while there was no-one in the house. Although her mother had an alarm system on one occasion when she had a fall her message was misinterpreted and she lay for 5 hours unattended. After another fall when she was admitted in a very poor state to hospital they were advised to consider finding a nursing home where she could have 24 hour nursing care. They were fortunate in finding one close to their home which provided care which met their very rigorous expectations.


Isabelle is much happier now that the care her mother is getting ensures her getting the appropriate nursing attention but also provides her with a social environment which keeps her happy and occupied. Isabelle is able to visit her at least twice a week and she enjoys her visits to the family home.


She is impressed by the fact that the extent to which her disability is obvious depends very much on her mood so that when she has been engaged in an interesting encounter her walking and general demeanor change. When one of her grandchildren was unwell she suddenly became concerned just as she would have been in the days when she had been a nurse. For her grandchildren, having her in the house meant that they had to share their mother with their grandmother. Now that seeing her is more of a special event they enjoy her company as she obviously enjoys theirs.


Making the decision to allow her mother to go into a nursing home was difficult for Isabelle but she feels confident that it was the right decision for all of them.


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