If my performance as a Care Partner for Maureen was being observed by football supporters I’m sure they would be singing : ‘you don’t know what you’re doing’. This familiar retort when the referee makes a bad decision would ring out on our terraces here on many a day. As the man in the middle, I could argue that I have my badge, an NVQ Level 2 in Dementia Care, and I’m not going to offer the whistle as I know my wife better than anyone.
Although I’m qualified to care for Maureen there are shortcomings within my skill set. Throughout my working life, I have predominantly been a Group Worker even though my Initial Training included Counselling. More importantly, I have not had a supervised placement in this field or an opportunity of shadowing an experienced practitioner.
Time is never on your side when you are a Care Partner for a loved one with dementia. You may feel you have got the hang of it until one day you are caught out as the goal posts have shifted . I sometimes feel I’m not keeping up with the game as Maureen’s presentation throws up new challenges. It is fortunate that telephone advice is so readily available.
In the 90’s I sought support from a therapist when I was ridden with guilt following divorce and separation from my children. Jenny used Transaction Analysis to help me put my situation into Eric Berne’s framework – always advising me : ‘if something isn’t working – try something else’. When the going gets challenging here it is one thing I try to keep in mind . Unfortunately, I’m far from match fit at the moment with a chest infection taking its toll but those antibiotics will kick in soon and I’ll be BACK!