When I visited my brother in his Nursing Home on Saturday I noticed how some folk had changed. My bro used to have a mate and they often walked the corridors hand in hand. Like my bro he was chair bound on that sad afternoon. They no longer walk the corridors: my bro’s friend is now chair bound. I asked staff what had happened and they told a familiar tale.
G, as I will call him, had been difficult to manage so had spent time in the local Mental Health Unit. Some weeks later he returns to his Nursing Home more manageable but now chair bound. Apparently, this is a familiar tale and encourages me to speculate on what has happened. Whilst G has been away medical intervention has taken place to control his behaviour. In short, he has been given tablets that make him easier to control: he is no longer able to raise himself from his chair.
My bro remains fit and strong; it is difficult for carers to attend to his personal needs. His wife has often raised concerns that he is being turned into a zombie by too much medication. I have witnessed my own wife becoming violent on more than one occasion. She has struck out a me couple of times with some accuracy and with good cause. My unhelpful responses to her presentation provoked her: she is not becoming violent she has dementia.
This post is in no way a criticism of my bro’s care home or any approach to dementia. It’s a warning really: get it wrong and you will pay for it. I deserved the slap on my face: I had failed to understand my wife’s reality. Probing where she was hiding her dirty clothes indeed: ask a silly question you will get more than a silly answer when dementia is around.