Dementia: Looking Back and Ahead! (Week 4)

Any consideration of my posts for the last week would reveal the challenging nature of Maureen presentation.  Her general confusion has increased, and her emotional struggles continue.  Myself, and my fellow carers are also witnessing a significant decline in her functional ability: such tasks as laying the table, and washing up the pots are no longer within her grasp.  Maureen often addresses me, Chloe and, Gail, in the third person asking if we have any news of where we are.  She frequently thinks she is in hospital or a Care Home, and that her family don’t know where she is.  That is her rationalisation for the dwindling contact, in any form, from her immediate family.

The EMail copied from my Admiral Nurse, earlier in the week, outlines the consequences for me: it’s exhausting. Unfortunately, at a time when I am often on my knees, I need to up my game.   It’s possible that the need to repeat my blood tests last from week may reveal a health problem that needs to be addressed.  In the meantime there are a few things I can do to improve my own wellbeing: joining Maureen for siestas, and building short periods of meditation into my daily routines can only help.

Our focus for the coming week is to look for ways of addressing Maureen’s confusion. We need to introduce more routine into her environment, with fixed routines on most days. We  need to come up with a clear plan for the days that carers call.  I need to get my act together and stick to a fixed routine.

Maureen and I have already started making the home environment simpler for her to comprehend.  Yesterday we took down some old photographs of people that she no longer recognises: a case of out of sight out of mind.

I need to use the various whiteboards in the house extensively. They have to become the back up to Maureen’s poor short-term memory.  Whenever I’m out of sight I need to write down where I am, and what I am doing.

I’m hoping that a few simple changes in our environment will make life easier for us all.

My cyber friend Kate Swaffer has blogged that today is Dignity in Action Day and that:  “Dame Joan Bakewell, Dignity in Care Ambassador said:

“Dignity Action Day highlights a more respectful way of behaving towards vulnerable people. The very old and the very young clearly need our respect, but it wouldn’t do any harm to spread the dignity message across the population then we can all benefit.”

Supporting Dignity Action Day will:

  • Raise awareness of the importance of Dignity in Care
  • Provide someone with an extra special day
  • Demonstrate that everybody in the community has a role to play in upholding Dignity in Care
  • Remind the public that staff have a right to be treated with dignity and respect too
  • Provide a great community networking opportunity.

I just hope Chloe will be able to persuade Maureen to have one of her Pamper Days.  

I will make sure that today, and every other day, is an extra special day for Maureen.

 

 

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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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4 Responses to Dementia: Looking Back and Ahead! (Week 4)

  1. Hey, I just thought l would let you know how much I admire you and Mareen for sharing your story, the ups and the downs of your day and all the challenges you face. You both have such courage in what must be very difficult some days. I know I’ve said it before but you are a wonderful man and Mareen’s very fortunate to have such a wonderful husband. Thanks for making me spend a little time thinking about Dignity Awareness Day and what it means. What a great message and reminder to us all.
    Hope you both have a good day:)

    Like

    • Remember Me says:

      Thanks for your kind comments. When I decided I wanted to be with Maureen it caused considerable upset for lots of people. It still does for some and I am sorry for the hurt they still feel. Life is never simple following divorce for any of the parties involved and it hasn’t been for us. However, in the last 20 years or so we have grown together and supported each other through many traumas in our lives. We are now doing our level best to find a life beyond dementia and you must be well aware of the Australian impact on our approach to ‘living every day as if it is your last’. I hope to make it to your country one day but with luck I will meet Kate (Swaffer) over here very shortly.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Remember Me says:

    It won’t be long I’m very sure before I meet my cyber friend.

    Like

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