Dementia: Creating Purpose and Routine

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It is never easy as a Care Partner to know if your approach is helping your loved one. However it doesn’t take you long to realise when you have made a mistake as there is no quarter offered by ‘Mrs Dementia’: she soon lets you have it with both barrels when you get it wrong.

I have made some progress in the last couple of days in helping Maureen find purpose in her life.  On Sunday I kidded her into going to Nottingham to support her brother and try to lift his mood.  Maureen warmed to this theme as she is a natural nurturer and I reminded her off her good works throughout yesterday whenever the opportunity arose.

Yesterday I encouraged her to follow the tradition of Monday is wash day and change our bed linen.  When I returned from a shopping expedition there was a line full of washing and Maureen had been spruced up in the shower.  Then I dropped a clanger asking if fresh linen had been put on the bed.   I soon got my come-uppance as Maureen refused to help our carer follow my hints about further tasks.  As Chloe said ‘she doesn’t like you telling us what to do’.  Later in the day I paid the price for another silly mistake.

Mike my neighbour asked if he could put his car alongside ‘Maureen’s’ on the drive.  When she awoke from her afternoon nap she was very distressed about our drive doubling as a car park for Mike’s car; particularly as it obscured the vision of her motor.  It also gave her a further opportunity to become frightened that strangers were always visiting this place.  I hastily asked Mike to remove the offending vehicle and return ours to its rightful place in the middle of our drive  As you will see from the photo, our car, Maureen’s beloved Space Star is now home alone in its rightful place in the centre of our drive.

On Friday I became so concerned about Maureen’s presentation that I arranged a check- up for her this morning.  She is sleeping a lot lately and plagued by an extremely sore mouth.  I managed to make this a joint appointemnt yeaterday so I can also discuss one or two matters of concern of my own. I know that ‘Rav’ (Dr Munjal) will pull out all the stops to see if there is anything he can do to make our lives just a little easier.

Personal reminder: Maureen has been a new woman with purpose in her life but any changes in routine can knock her for six. 

I’ve just remembered a helpful suggestion from a Mental Health Nurse during one of my periods of depression.  He said ‘never go to bed without some idea of how you are going to spend the next day’.  His advice along with support from various other people helped me to find my way out of recurring periods of anxiety and depression.

From now on I will list some possible tasks for the day at the end of each post to try to ensure that we don’t get lose our way on this challenging journey.

Today’s Tasks

  • Attend medical appointments for  health assessments.
  • Make dental appointments.
  • Sort out better arrangements for storing spare bedding.
  • Continue to de-clutter our house.
  • Print photographic reminders of how we spent yesterday.
  • Continue to potter in the garden.
  • Stick to established routines.

Great News: I’ve just had an amazing find – the missing bread knife that belonged to Maureen’s grandmother.  As I gave the bathroom a much needed early morning clean I found it safely tucked away behind the sink.  Now if only I could find the missing butter knife: also precious for the same reason.

Wow the latest search has revealed a key, sharp knife, Maureen’s distance glasses and bus pass all safely stashed away in the pocket of her fleece hidden from view in a wardrobe in the spare bedroom. It’s only a matter of time before I come across Maureen’s engagement ring, our address book and the remaining missing key.  They don’t call me P C 70 for nothing: I’ll make the CID at this rate!

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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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