Dementia: A Natural Break Beckons

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This morning I have an appointment with my Counsellor – the very man who suggested I should consider blogging.  He helped me to think my way out of depression and see that medication was not the solution for recurring low mood.  Once Maureen was diagnosed with dementia he suggested my mission was to minimise distress.

Maureen didn’t want to go on a little holiday yesterday, rejecting out of hand any ideas about a short break.  No matter how we tried she saw no point in going anywhere as she ‘liked being in her own home’.  I kept in touch with the manager of  Waltham House throughout the day and was reassured by her empathy for my predicament.

The consistent advice from professional staff yesterday was to work within my usual remit of minimising distress.  It soon became obvious that Maureen could see no valid reason for leaving her home and going anywhere else.  No matter how we dressed it up: ‘the lady was not for turning’.  Today brings a new beginning, unfortunately, it is cold and raining heavily so my chances of getting Maureen out of the front door are slim, to say the least!

There is another possibility for a short break for both of us.  My mother is 96 on Thursday and Maureen is keen to join me on a trip to see the Birthday Girl.   Family members are already offering to put us up for a  night or two so we don’t have to travel over 200 miles in one day.  Such a natural break is a phone call away and our chauffeur will be here tomorrow morning.

Our professional support team has always alerted me to the dangers of Burnout: there is a constant message to look after yourself.  Respite care for Maureen is usually seen as the solution when I begin to feel jaded.  I understand that a rolling programme of regular breaks is a sensible arrangement.  I am optimistic that Waltham House is only an assessment away from filling such a gap in our Care Plan.  However, from past experience, I can safely predict that Maureen will be distressed by such arrangements.  To paraphrase her words ‘I’m ready to give up whenever you have tricked me into going in a Care Home’.

It’s fortunate I’m seeing my Counsellor this morning as I’m sure I will emerge from our session with a pragmatic way forward.  It is so helpful that his initial training was as a Mental Health Nurse working in a Dementia Unit.

I hate to think what readers of this Blog ‘who live dementia’ would have thought if I had deliberately ‘tricked Maureen’ into not seeing the Birthday Girl tomorrow.  It could even be that we go today as Maureen never knows what day it is and could well think we will be heading south this morning!

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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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