Dementia: Finding A Friend

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It took me a while yesterday morning to understand what was behind Maureen’s question of ‘have I got to go to school today?’  After a little probing, she told me she wanted to be with her friends so they could play chasing games together.   When we went for a walk later in the day she asked again about the whereabouts of her friend.

Maureen often says she is lonely and wants to go home to her mother and father, to a place where she had friends.  We haven’t any close friends here and visitors to our home are few and far between.  Moving back ‘home’, is no longer a sensible option as familiarity with surroundings is essential as Maureen can now get lost in our own house. Therefore, it is an opportune time to attempt to develop some friendships a little further and entice them into our abode.  I’m hoping to set the ball rolling on this front later this morning. One of the candidates on my short list has a young child and I know Maureen would love to have a youngster to play with.  I hope to have some progress to report on Monday: have a good weekend.

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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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2 Responses to Dementia: Finding A Friend

  1. csaxonm says:

    I am among the fortunate few people with dementia who are still able to speak for those who can no longer. On behalf of people with dementia in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, England and Brazil, please let me tell you what dementia is like and therefore, how much we appreciate you, our personal caregivers.

    Those living with dementia have experiences much like Dorothy’s in the Wizard of Oz. You remember Dorothy? A tornado came up in Kansas and scattered everything at Auntie Em’s farm. It blew poor Dorothy and her dog, Toto, all the way to Oz. In Oz, everything was different. Witches and Munchkins lived there. Flowers glittered in strange ways. The apple tree griped when Dorothy tried to pick an apple. Finally, the bewildered Dorothy lamented to Toto, “We’re not in Kansas anymore.”

    As she struggled to understand her much-changed world, Dorothy became desperately homesick for the familiar old Kansas farm and her familiar, loving Auntie Em’. She missed them so! Dorothy’s only goal became to find her way home.

    Dementia is like that. Those of us who have dementia are different. The world is different. People treat us differently. We feel scared and very much alone. Whatever frustrations our former lives held, at least they were familiar. Like Dorothy, we — desperately — want to go home. At home, we knew our way. At home we held valuable jobs. At home we had friends. At home we were parts of loving families. We want to go home. But how can we get there?

    As Dorothy did, we seek a well-marked road like the yellow brick road. And maybe that is why we wander. We wander and rummage and hoard whatever we find that reminds us in the least of home. We can’t find the yellow brick road, and we can’t find the magic ruby slippers to follow it.

    Dorothy discovered during her adventures in Oz that she had always had within herself the brains, the heart, and the courage to get home. We don’t. In fact, if you could only see how shrunken and shriveled our brains have become and how much we despair, you would be very proud of us for having the courage to carry on at all. We know we will not get better, but we do carry on, and mostly because of you.

    As our loving family care givers, you are our scarecrow, our tin man, and our lion. You lead us along the way. More than that, you are our Yellow Brick Road; you are our Ruby Slippers; and you are the Wizard who leads us so very close to home.

    We are aware of how much your world has changed as well. We are aware of the pain we have caused you. We know you miss us as we were, and we would be different for you if only we could. We would give you back your life, your partner, your lover, and your farm. We would set you free and give you all of Kansas. We would work for the rest of our lives to fulfill your every dream. We will thank you eternally for your care and self-sacrifice. We love you as always – and more!

    Carole Mulliken, VP
    The Dementia Advocacy and Support Network International

    Liked by 1 person

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