Dementia: Keeping A Diary

I continue to be impressed by the approach the Home Treatment Team are taking to support us.  Their Doctor and a Mental Health Nurse were here for an hour and a half yesterday.  This gave them an opportunity to see Maureen’s presentation and talk to me at some length.  They have requested that I keep a record of events so that any patterns in Maureen’s behaviour can be explored.  I’m hoping my Blog will become the diary that the HTT have requested me to keep.  Hopefully it will provide some answers to the triggers that lead to Maureen occasionally behaving ‘out of character’.

I am drafting this post just after 11 pm at night after rather a long catch-up sleep on my behalf.  Maureen remains ‘spark-out’ on the sofa.  One thing is for sure if I wake her now she won’t know where she is: so I have to leave her to come round in her own time.  My only dilemma is deciding whether to join her in the lounge or go back to bed.  I think I will hedge my bets for a while by staying awake and seeing if she stirs.

Maureen awoke around 11.30 pm and we chatted for a couple of hours.  I tried to encourage her to accompany me to bed but she was reluctant to do so.  At 1.30 am I retired to bed and left Maureen downstairs lying down on the sofa.

I awoke around 3.30 am and checked that Maureen was still safely covered up on the sofa.  A couple of hours later I heard movement downstairs and found her tidying up in the dining room.  She had brushed her hair had her handbag on her arm and shoes on her feet.  I made her a cup of tea as she was too busy to make one for herself.  It took me a while to explain to her that it was cold because the central heating was scheduled to come on in an hour or two.

Maureen seems in good spirits this morning and appears to have got over the distress following the visit of the HTT yesterday.  She will have forgotten the sterling battle she waged to resist having medication available to calm her down if she gets distressed. During this exploration she was clear thinking, rational and logical.  One of the many things Maureen and I have in common is we are well aware of the shortcomings of medications as the solution to changes in our environment.   However, as Maureen was deemed to lack capacity to understand the risks associated with her out of character behaviour a best interest decision was taken and a prescription for a low dose lorazepam will be delivered this morning.  This medication is only to be used when needed with Maureen’s consent.

As always Maureen felt that professionals were here to catch her out on one front or another and wished they would leave her alone. She feels she is being treated unfavourably because she has lost her memory.  I hope Kate Swaffer will forgive me if I suggest Maureen is experiencing aspects of ‘Prescribed Disengagement’ dispensed with a degree of compassion.

It would be churlish of me to complain about having to fit in with Maureen’s sleeping pattern: she has had to cope with my early morning wakening for many years.  The sofa is clearly a safe place for her to rest but I don’t sleep easily when we are ‘out of it’ on different floors of the house.  I’m hoping to find a suitable monitor so I am alerted as soon as she roaming around and I’m asleep in bed upstairs.

Readers of this Blog continue to comment on my approach to being Maureen’s Care Partner.  Professional staff may prefer to make comment or pass on suggestions by E Mail to pautrevcol@gmail.com

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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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