I looked at my wife on Christmas Eve at 5 pm, as she stood in the kitchen, and wondered about the outfit she was wearing. She has always dressed well for any occasion but this evening’s outfit was rather different. Her pink striped T shirt didn’t look out of place with her purple P J pants with white squirrels on. Her footwear consisted of: one tan slipper the other blue, with ‘matching odd socks’ of pink and purple. As I took in her appearance I wondered why no-one had tipped me off about tonight’s Fancy Dress theme. I also wondered how her choice of outfits might change in 2016.
I mentioned in the Yesterday’s Blog that Maureen and I have always seen presence more important than presents at Christmas. We are not hoping for family to visit today: we know it won’t happen. They all live a fair distance away, and are having Christmas at home. However, what we need from them is to understand how to communicate with someone who has dementia. The last thing Maureen needs is long phone calls listening to their problems, combined with questions about her activities. My attempts to help them understand how to keep their telephone conversations brief have fallen on stony ground. It’s a shame I can’t video the impact they have on Maureen once she has put the phone down.
Family members may well also have missed our rejection of Prescribed Disengagement. Again it is important to get them on board with our approach to living beyond diagnosis.
I am going to see if I can use today as a turning point in the process of helping family members to become more thoughtful in their communication with Maureen. I am hoping that Christmas Day will provide a dynamic for much needed change. Things have reached the stage where I believe we have nothing to lose.
Time to bite the bullet: disconnect the land line and take it from there!