Dementia: Coming Home


Image result for Being Back Home Picture

It is now a week since Maureen’s discharge from the Konar Suite.  She is beginning to settle down to being back home after three weeks in an Acute Mental Health Unit.  Just as her Consultant stressed her presentation is subject to fluctuation.   My status can change from her husband to the wicked man who is stopping her from going home at the drop of a hat: from hero to zero.

We still have great fun together and Maureen’s wicked sense of humour shone through when she was in the hospital.  When a staff member was encouraging her to take lunch Maureen said ‘she wasn’t hungry and suggested that the individual concerned would be well advised to eat a little less’.   I’m not always sure our larking about is always well received by professionals when they call.  I hope it doesn’t lead to them to place us on some psychiatric scale.

I’m doing my best to stick to routines that help Maureen’s dilemma of ‘not knowing what to do with her time’.  It is now very obvious that she needs prompting to complete most tasks.  Her days of hanging out washing on the line have gone.  She can manage to assist with such tasks but forgets what she is meant to be doing if she is left to her own devices.

We slept together beautifully last night and that is a real bonus in the scheme of things.  I know it’s very early days but I’m optimistic that things can only get better if I continue to take breaks and don’t try to do it all by myself.  It is so reassuring that the Home Treatment Team are monitoring how things are going and are calling shortly for yet another chat.

I have to admit my reservations about Maureen going into the Konar Suite were ill-conceived.  They treated us both with the utmost dignity and respect along with lots of TLC.  To experience a Mental Health Unit that does not see medication as the answer to everything was so refreshing!


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Emails between friends

There is much to write about Maureen’s stay on the Konar Suite and the ongoing aftermath but I was keeping my powder dry for a while. However, I couldn’t let a day go by without posting this blog from my dear cyber friend Kate Swaffer.

This week I was asked to provide some information about one of DAI’s founding members, the late Richard Taylor Ph.D. I headed to my files (word and emails) simply titled: Richard Taylor. It was an opportunity to reflect when not feeling hopeless, as it’s often Richard who I turn to when I want to give up or it seems too hard to keep going and I feel hopeless.

Some days I imagine we have come a long way, then I read an old email like this, and realise we haven’t come that far. I still miss dear Richard, as I know many others do. And I worry that people do not want to work together, as that more often causes much more harm to the ’cause’, than good. On the days I start to think maybe we have come a long way, I then read an old email trail like this, and…

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Dementia: A Beauty From Iceland

Image for AKAI Bluetooth Rechargeable Suitcase Style Turntable from studio

When I was looking for some new clothes for Maureen last week I stumbled on this little beauty in Iceland -The Food Warehouse.  It is amazing value for £29.99 and an excellent reminder of the good old days.

I used it several times when Maureen was in the Konar Suite to play some of her old favourites and we even had the occasional smooch in her room.  We have decided to take it with us the next time we visit my mum so she can tap her feet to Frank Sinatra, Glen Miller and Nat King Cole.

I’m hoping that another purchase a 2-in-1 Calendar and Day Clock will help Maureen’s difficulties with the orientation to time.  I haven’t taken it out of its box yet as I realise that such changes have to be managed gradually if they are to have a positive impact.

I also found a beautiful jacket in Maureen’s favourite colour last week.  She is really looking forward to wearing it for the first time today.

I’m hoping she has now caught up on her sleep as she spent most of the last 24 hours on the sofa.  However, when you consider what she has been through in the last few weeks she is doing remarkably well.

Update at 9.30am: Maureen’s new jacket fits like a glove and she is delighted to have something new to wear.  She has now retired to the sofa exhausted by my attempts to help her into warmer clothes before we ventured out.  When Girl Thursday arrives I’ll take the opportunity to return some further purchases that she is not keen on.  Hopefully, she will model her new jacket a little later in the day




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Dementia: Together Again

This is one of our favourites from Emmylou:

We had a lovely day yesterday.  Maureen was so pleased to see her GP after three weeks with ‘Witch Doctors and magic spells’ on the Konar Suite.

She amazed me in the evening when we popped in to see our old friends at Carpet Bowls.  We hadn’t been for years but she blended in as if it had been the previous week.  Our old friends were really pleased to see us again and people we didn’t know treated her with real compassion.  Then to top it all we have spent a restful night together in the marital bed.

After another appointment with a ‘Real Doctor’ this morning we could pop in to see our dancing friends.  To be Together Again on the dance floor after all this time would really be something!

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Dementia: Home At Last

Image result for Home At Last Picture

Maureen came home from the Konar Suite yesterday afternoon.

I intend to spend a minimal amount of time on social media over the next few days.

My priority is to help Maureen settle to being back home after being in an Acute Mental Health Unit where she has had a high level of support available 24/7.

Maureen hardly slept last night and is frightened by yet another change of environment.

I’m hoping my Admiral Nurse will be here shortly so we can chat about how to help Maureen settle as quickly as possible and regain a semblance of independence.

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Dementia: Reality Check

Image result for A Reality Check Dementia PictureOn Saturday morning I received a copy of the assessments that had taken place to determine Maureen’s mental capacity.  These documents make sobering reading.   They are a stark reminder that Maureen no longer has any concept of person, place or time.  They also point out her high level of need.

The assessment was required to as part of a  DoLS Application.  Within the documentation, there are several references to the need for a robust Care Package before Maureen is discharged from Konar.  At a time when additional carer support is needed, there is nothing in place.

Yesterday, Maureen’s initial pleasure at seeing me soon declined.  She said once again that she was only being detained on Konar ‘because of the lies I had told, as I wanted to get rid of her’.  She declined to have Sunday Lunch with me as ‘ it was too early and you shouldn’t eat at your place of work’.  She then retired to the patient’s lounge choosing to ignore me for the remainder of my visit.

I was pleased to hear from a member of staff on Konar that Maureen is still their patient.  It would be irresponsible to attempt to bring her home her home until a robust Care Package is in place.


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Dementia: Kindness and Compassion

Today’s teaching from Dekyong is very appropriate:

When I called in to see Maureen yesterday morning she was fast asleep in bed.

She looked so peaceful that I saw no point in waking her.

A member of staff suggested that I take the day off.

She then invited me to have Sunday Lunch with Maureen.

Kindness and compassion are always on offer in the  Konar Suite.



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Dementia: I’m Not To Talk About It

Maureen has now been declared fit for discharge from the Konar Suite

The Multi-Disciplinary Team agreed yesterday that it was in her Best Interest to come home: subject to a robust Care Package being put in place.

I now have to learn to be patient: particularly as Maureen is settled on Konar.

Maureen has been singing this one to staff on Konar:

Such an appropriate song: our discussions yesterday are CONFIDENTIAL!

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Dementia: Konar – It’s A Kind Of Magic!

When I arrived to visit Maureen yesterday morning a member of staff said you should see your ‘Polynesian Princess today’.  When I saw her looking stunning and happily singing along to the background music I realised I had been on the wrong mission.  My campaign to get her home as quickly as possible had been short-sighted.

Maureen gave me a beautiful smile when she saw me.  I joked that I had been drawn to this silver-haired lady singing in the corner before I realised it was my wife.  She is used to this sort of thing and carried on singing.   I left her to it and made my way to one of the areas set aside for visitors.  Maureen sought me out a while later with: ‘there you are I’ve been looking for you’.  She then told me that ‘magic was taking place in here’.

I returned to Konar later in the day and saw the’magic’ in action first hand.  Maureen was in extreme discomfort as her system had become seized up.  The efforts that staff went to as they helped things to move was indeed ‘magic’.  I played my part by holding her hand whilst we walked around: it was too painful for Maureen to sit down.  Despite tea being served a magician arrived and helped to ease Maureen’s discomfort as laxatives and gravity eventually did the trick.  Then our wonderful magician held Maureen’s hand as she walked her down the corridor for her evening meal.

Maureen is right magic is taking place in Konar.  She has experienced TLC from the moment she was admitted.  How on earth they are able to do this in an Acute Mental Health Unit has to be a kind of magic.


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Dementia: Picking Your Battles

Image result for Picking Your Battles with dementia picture

I have been waging a battle all week to get Maureen out of the Konar Suite ASAP.  It has disappointed me that she remains in an Acute Mental Health Unit a week after her assessment has been completed.  Patience does not come easily to me in circumstances like this.

Maureen will be discharged from hospital on Friday.  I’m confident that the Best Interest Meeting will agree that she can return home.  The only stumbling block could be the time it might take to put an adequate Care Package in place.

It didn’t take the social worker from the Hospital Discharge Team and me to agree upon common ground yesterday: the importance of picking your battles.  Therefore, if Maureen wants to wear a slipper on one foot and a shoe on the other that is her right.  If she wants to wear the same clothes for several days and nights that is fine.  She has the right to make choices and it is our problem if we don’t like them.  As Maureen said to me shortly after my arrival yesterday: ‘if they ask me if I want to have my hair cut again, I’ll ask them if they would like me to cut their head off’.

Maureen thought I was her ex-husband when I was with her yesterday.  She was hostile to me during the whole of my visit.  I was warned this might well happen as her dementia progresses.  The only solution when she is in this mode is to walk away: her early life would have been much happier if her ex-husband had done the same!

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