Dementia: Don’t Rock The Boat!

We had a lovely morning yesterday as Chloe (Girl Monday) worked her magic with Maureen as I stayed in the background.  My phone call to the Alzheimer’s Society was really productive: confirming that it was the week that ‘Singing For The Brain’ was on, and additional support that they could offer.  Maureen seemed really keen to pop into the Memorial Hall to see if singing with other people was to our liking.  However, she soon made it clear that she was struggling in new surroundings.  At first, she refused to join in with any of the numbers; either making fun of what was going on or ridiculing what was being sung with her body language or adding naughty lines to songs.  We took our leave at the interval and then things became really challenging.

At first, she refused to join in with any of the numbers; either making fun of what was going including ridiculing what was being sung with her body language.  She also added naughty lines to songs, especially to Love and Marriage – where she made it clear what she thought of such unions.  Consequently, we took our leave at the interval, and then things became really challenging.

The vitriol began as soon as we were out of earshot of our fellow singers.  It continued for some time, along with confusion about who I was and where we lived.  When we arrived home Maureen was reluctant to accompany me into the house, so I made out I was ‘dropping her off’ and returning to my own home.  I took my leave and popped next door to chat to neighbours.  I returned a short while later to an empty house.

It took me a few minutes to track Maureen down walking on her normal route towards the Country Park.  She reluctantly agreed to join me ‘in her car, which I had stolen once again’.  When we returned home she refused to get out of the car.  Despite my best efforts, she chose to remain in the car and it took two social workers to move her from the car to the house.

Maureen’s story to my ‘rescue rangers’, who had responded promptly to my call for help, was that she was ‘waiting for Paul to come home’.  Once in the house tea settled the situation, and Maureen continued to confabulate as she gave our visitors her version of  the events of the afternoon. Things went relatively smoothly for the rest of the evening, with Maureen eating a hearty meal and attempting to help tidy up debris the kitchen.  She was clearly tired after a busy day without our normal siesta.  When she took to the sofa shortly after 7 pm I thought that would be it for the night – but no such luck.

Maureen woke around 8 pm feeling cold and went back to sleep quickly after finding some additional clothing.  She was awake again at 1.30 am determined to light up the house as she went on some sort of mission.  Her confusion was paramount as I tried to convince her that more sleep for us both would be a good idea.  Half an hour later she declined my suggestion of moving upstairs to sleep; making it quite clear that she normally slept on the sofa.

I am tired and disappointed by the events of the last 12 hours or so.  I’m drafting this at a ridiculous hour to try to clear my mind as part of my strategy to get more sleep.  It seems likely that ‘Rocking The Boat’ has upset the apple cart.  However, if I get You Are My Sunshine on YouTube this morning a new day will have begun.  If I call up the right numbers I might even get Maureen on the dance floor: providing she knows who I am!

Footnote:  I managed to sleep for another couple of hours after drafting the above passages, and returned to the lounge/bedroom after a bathroom visit to hear Maureen singing ‘Good morning, good morning’.  It was a relief to hear my ‘Singer Lady’ (as I often call her), in such good voice. It will be interesting to see if she shifts her position on the best place to do our singing in the next couple of weeks.  I wouldn’t dare to predict if yesterday was our one and only appearance at ‘Singing For The Brain’.  What I am sure about is that I cannot allow the apathy of ‘Prescribed Disengagement’ (Swaffer)to slip into our lives. Therefore, I have to take up the challenge of moving our dancing from the kitchen and lounge back to the Church Hall – watch this space!

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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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