Dementia: Seeing The Light

Image result for elderly man seeing the light picture

I went to bed shortly before 9 pm last night, leaving Maureen fast asleep on the sofa in our lounge.   As always, I left the landing light on hoping that it would lead Maureen to the marital bedroom later in the night.  My cunning plan worked and a few hours later I heard her coming up the stairs making for the bathroom.  Just to be on the safe side, I hastily made for the spare bedroom to try to avoid the issues of a ‘strange man’ in the bed.

I left Maureen to it for a while before attempting to ease her into bed.  However, she told me that ‘she would be in trouble with the school if she stayed in the bedroom’.  She sat on the bed for a while before going downstairs again.  I heard her close the door of the lounge so I decided to leave her to her own devices for a while.  An hour or so later I found her curled up on an armchair asleep.  When she stirred she told me she had been singing that I was The Wind Beneath Her Wings: then I got a short sharp shock.

Maureen hero was, in fact, her dad.  That became clear when she reminisced over my (his) generosity in funding a family holiday to France.  She went on to say she hoped I (he) had some photographs of a wonderful camping holiday.  Her confusion of people became even more evident when she pondered over whether ‘Paul had been the driver’. Then she decided he couldn’t have been but she was unsure who was!

As I drafted this post, Maureen appeared upstairs again announcing she ‘doesn’t want to go to school today’.  Apparently, it is ‘one of those dressing up days’ and she ‘doesn’t want to be involved’.

Whenever Maureen talks to me as if I am her dad I accept her reality.  She clearly has very fond memories of a wonderful father.  At other times I am supportive when she is sad about the tough life he had coping with epilepsy and trying to make ends meet. Her confusion about time, person, and place means I have to listen very intently throughout the day. to work out who she thinks I am.  If I don’t ‘see the light’ and make assumptions about my status I would find myself in real trouble when I try to persuade my wife to join me in bed or even risk asking her to take her pants off!

 

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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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