Dementia: Heads Up Pays Off

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My ad-hoc induction of a new carer paid off yesterday, as on my return from the Leisure Centre Maureen was keen to introduce me to ‘the new lady’.  The new kid on the block had thanked me earlier for giving her a ‘Heads Up’ on Maureen, as on her arrival she knew nothing about us.  This was very disappointing as her Agency had agreed on Friday to provide her with a ‘Heads Up’ on Maureen.  It seems likely that I will need to be prepared to do the same on Monday when there will be another new lady sitting with Maureen.

One of the things I need to give myself an ongoing Heads Up on is that Maureen’s short-term memory is barely functioning at the moment.  The positive conversation about changing clothing that was so was well received in the early hours of Saturday was forgotten and rejected by lunchtime.  Our plans to listen to UB40 together suffered a more serious fate.

Maureen was asleep on the sofa as UB40 were about to begin their performance.  When I  woke her and reminded me of our date she encouraged me to go by myself as she was tired.  Taking her advice I drove a short distance to join fans who were happy to sing along on the perimeter of Meridian Point but reluctant to fork out the £35 entrance fee.

When I returned home Maureen was still fast asleep and appeared at our patio doors as I was listening to UB40’s encore from our garden:

I encouraged Maureen to join me in the garden hoping for a dance to remind us of that lovely night over 25 years ago when we saw UB40 together at the NEC.  She told me in Anglo Saxon ‘to go away’ as ‘I had not woken her to see the concert and listen to the music’.

The Heads Up on all of this is that Maureen’s short-term memory is not what it was. There would have been no point in telling her that Ali Campbell was no longer with the Band and arguing about whether I had tried to get her to accompany me on a short trip down the road to listen to the concert.

Maureen is in floods of tears as I draw this post to a conclusion because: ‘they have gone out in my car again and not taken me with them’.  Dementia has brought out into the open Maureen’s feelings about people taking advantage of her and treated her unfairly.  It wouldn’t take anyone who knows her life history very long to work out the probable sources of such feelings.

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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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