Dementia: ‘Think Of Yourself’

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During our adventure yesterday the Activities Organiser at my mum’s Care Home begged me to think of myself.   I have known this woman for a long time as she was a mature student at a local Community College where I managed adult learning opportunities.  She asserted that I needed to look beyond caring for Maureen: that something would happen that would mean I could no longer look after my dear wife.

Our visit to see my mum followed calling in to see my brother in his Nursing Home.  He only woke for a brief period of time as we sat by his side doing all we could to gently wake him.  As always he treated us to his beautiful smile and chuckled briefly before he drifted back to sleep.  Perhaps his morning shower had worn him out as he seemed exhausted; continually yawning, as he slumped comatose in his favourite spot in the dining room.

Maureen loved seeing my brother: remembering our last visit when we both danced holding his hand.  Unfortunately, we couldn’t put on a similar performance yesterday but we managed to give mum her usual treat.  She campaigned for a trip out as she always does when you go to see her.  The Ice Cream Man was not on duty at a local park but the Cafe was open and she assured me that her kit-kat special would not spoil her dinner. When I took her back to her seat in the Resident’s Lounge she begged me not to leave her, so I told the familiar white lie that I would be back shortly.

When I look back at what I did next I’m  not sure who I was thinking of – it certainly wasn’t Maureen.  We made it to a local pub on time where I had arranged for her son to meet us along with her granddaughter and son in law.  Their arrival was staggered and Maureen had some special time with her son before the others arrived.  She clearly loved seeing them all and the attention she got from one particular friend in the pub.

Maureen is worn out and very confused this morning.  I will never repeat what I coaxed her into yesterday.  We are both too old to endure long car journeys and busy schedules in Coventry or anywhere else.  It isn’t myself I need to think about it is both of us!

Maureen is not at all pleased with me this morning.  She thinks I’m conspiring to get rid of her and stealing all of her possessions.  I’m not pleased with myself when I reflect on what I coaxed her into yesterday: particularly how little time we spent with my brother and mother. How can I justify rushing way from my nearest and dearest, who both have dementia to meet with other family members?  If that had happened to Maureen I would have been fuming!

There is one positive outcome from our adventure yesterday: it has strengthened my resolve never to put Maureen into a Care or Nursing Home!

 

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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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