As soon as I saw the above slide from Dementia Alliance International I knew it had to be the starting point for this morning’s post. We all need to make a contribution to making the dream become reality: starting in our own homes and joining with others to widen the debate. As the day progressed yesterday I had to take a number of reality checks that I could have done without.
Once again my plans for respite are in tatters. I had overlooked how much notice Care Homes need before they are able to accept residents for respite. As reasonable as this is it will prove problematic as we are both waiting for medical consultations in the next few weeks: Maureen needs a scan and I need substantial dental treatment.
I had a stark reality check when I returned from my dental appointment. As I drew up in the car Maureen was in the process of leaving the house with a handful of mail. The worrying thing is that had I been a little longer I would have had no idea of when she left the house or that she was carrying mail. It is time to reconsider leaving Maureen to her own devices for more than a few minutes.
My ongoing struggle dealing with Maureen’s reality continues. She woke early this morning telling me that she was going to see ‘if she could go home, as she is no longer receiving any treatment’. It will be interesting to see if my continual attempts at redirection can shift her thinking and ‘keep her here a while longer’!
A little later in the morning Maureen was clearly confusing me with her previous husband, as she explained the strict nature of an upbringing I never had. A few minutes ago Maureen was standing by the phone wanting the number for her mother as she is concerned she hasn’t spoken to her for ages. I’m hoping that my line of it being ‘too early holds’, my singing an appropriate song distracted, and encouraging her into making a sandwich redirected her thoughts. Any carer for someone who has dementia has to be eternally grateful for the work of Teepa Snow who has outlined such helpful strategies for supporting someone who has dementia.
My focus on reality this morning reminds me of something I once read in the gents toilet when I was a student at Westhill College: ‘Reality is an illusion caused by lack of alcohol’. I am beginning to wonder if it would help us both if we occasionally took to the booze again?