Dementia: Dealing With Denial

I am pretty tired at the moment and early morning wakening is once again a feature of my life.  It is difficult to switch off when I wake early in the morning and if I mange to stay in bed then I am generally thinking.  My thoughts stray to what can be done to improve our lives.  Yes  I know staying in bed and sleeping longer would be a help.

We have moved on from a difficult phase over the last few weeks.  It appears we now have some continuity of care with our ‘adopted daughter’ on duty two mornings a week.  Strange faces waking you up in the morning are not a good start to anyone’s day; particularly when you have dementia. I am hoping that continuity will give us a helpful pattern to our lives in the coming weeks.  One issue that continues to nag away at me is the whole business of denial.  My wife would at best admit that she has some problems with her memory she does not appear to accept she has dementia.  Despite the loss of 50% of peripheral vision she often talks about getting her licence back.

In previous posts I have already alluded to reluctance of the Memory Service to use the word DEMENTIA.  They have not done us any favours in their misguided approach to M’s condition and I have outlined their shortcomings in a previous post..  It would be far more sensible for dementia to be treated as brain injury.   Kate Swaffer makes this point in her Blog today:

‘If I had been referred to the brain injury unit (in the early stages, dementia is not that different), I would have been proactively treated to live the very best life possible with the injury I have. Suggesting I disengage from my meaningful life, and take up activities other people thought might sustain my soul, was not only illogical, it was insulting. Initially it seemed I should join in, I should be grateful for the services people are trying so hard to provide, often with limited funding and resources. But I have found mostly I get no enjoyment from engaging in things that I was not interested in before (doh!!).’

I have to admit I am unsure how to deal with denial.  When M talks of getting her driving licence back it is easy to listen to her plans and eventually change the subject.  I fully understand, like my fellow Blogger, her reluctance to attend  activities put on for people with dementia.

What I need to consider is how to sustain my efforts to encourage her to take up those things that might just make a difference.  There may be no need to spell out the likely prospects for her condition.  However, it would be sensible to try to find a few more ways to ease her out of her comfort zone:  procrastination is particularly the thief of time where dementia is concerned.  Cunning plans are pending and I make no secret of the fact that I will be following Kate’s path even though it is based on the ‘anecdotal evidence’ of one.

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About Remember Me

I am a retired adult educator. My wife had a stroke in February 2014 and now has mixed dementia. Her recovery from stroke has been exceptional apart from 50% loss of peripheral vision and vascular damage. 'Dharma For Dementia' is my approach to being Maureem's Care Partner: it aims to end the suffering of 'Prescribed Disengagement' (Swaffer) .
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