We have had a lovely afternoon with my sister and her son. Things got off to a dodgy start today with M reluctant to get out of bed until after noon. In fact she came down stairs for the first time as our visitors arrived. M was both pleased, and nervous, about seeing her nephew and his mother for the first time in ages.
Things did not go well for the first hour or so as M struggled to find any clothes that felt comfortable and indicated that she had nothing to wear. She ate a late lunch in her dressing gown and P J’s.
Gradually she began to enjoy having other folk in the house and changed her mind about a walk towards the beach. Although it took her a time to find suitable clothing she eventually joined us for a short stroll.
Once outside we saw a different woman: keen to give a commentary as we showed our guests around. She enjoyed her walk; particularly taking her nephew in hand and guiding him along our sea front walk. My sister has had close involvement with dementia supporting our mother. She responded well to M’s questions that would have puzzled an innocent onlooker. Her sensitive demeanor, and her sons willingness to be led by the hand, made for a pleasant afternoon for M.
It was clear that M was nervous about the prospect of our visitors: particularly as she had not seen them for some time. I suppose she didn’t know what to expect. Once she saw that empathy in abundance was on offer she rose to the occasion. It makes such a difference when visitors have direct experience of dementia and their behaviour is supportive.