Firdous came to the UK in 1969, when many of the Pakistani wives were migrating here to join their husbands living and working in the textile industry in England. She was about 26 when she arrived and has practically lived here since apart from the sporadic visits to family back home whilst her mum and dad were still alive. Her husband died around 15 years ago and she has lived with her younger son and his family ever since. Firdous is an educated, articulate lady and worked in Britain in the sewing factory.
Having had a stroke, the last few years have changed her personality. Her daughter in law is her carer and manages most things from personal care to medicine and helping her with some social activities in the home to try and keep her active as much as she can. Firdous has increasing talked about her mum calling her and that she needs to go and see her mother. She would get up and walk off, as though on her way somewhere perhaps to go to her mother. The family took this as a sign of mental ill health, that she was old, had health problems and so perhaps she was starting to lose her ability to understand or comprehend what was going on.
It wasn’t until the hassle from friends and family about Firdous becoming ‘paagal’, (insane), that the family went to speak to their doctor who told them it might be dementia and would make a referral to the memory clinic. Firdous’s family have been struggling to justify to family and friends that Firdous is not mad but needs social support. Less and less friends and wider family visit Firdous, but the immediate family wants to reach out to similar carers, wanting to learn how best they can support their Firdous that they have always loved.