Tag Archives: Distress

Dementia: Music Not Medication!

I had to resort to an early morning session of YouTube this morning when Maureen was beside herself with fear.  I chose the music carefully and only put on our beloved Songbird Granddaughter once Maureen had downed copious amounts of tea.  From what I have just heard the immediate fears of the morning are over: Maureen has found her way to the bathroom and can remember what to do again!

I’m going to be opportunistic this morning as I try to help Maureen rebuild her self-belief.  I have asked her to accompany me to my physiotherapy appointment. This will give me an opportunity to coax her into her nurturing mode and nag me to do the prescribed exercises to regain flexibility in my legs and shoulders.

Maureen and I rarely see medication as the solution to our aging bodies and tired minds.  Music continues to play an important part in our lives:  if I could coax her into calling in to see our dancing friends at the Church Hall on our way home I would really be cooking on gas this morning!

Updaate at 7.20am:  Taking Maureen to the Church  Hall is far too risky.  I often believe that others are overstimulating her and was about to stray down the same path.  Why would anyone in their right mind take her into two situations that have the capacity to distress her in one morning?

 

Dementia: ‘You Need More Help Than That!’

 

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Sometimes it takes a complete stranger to confront you with the shortcomings of your situation.  When I told a nurse at Grimsby Hospital yesterday morning about the level of carer support that we receive she said: ‘you need more than that.’

Maureen had been taken to the hospital early yesterday morning because of pain in her abdomen.  At first, she was cooperative as she remembered her discomfort. Once the pain receded she couldn’t understand why she was being examined.  She concluded that it was my well-being that was under the spotlight and began to challenge staff as they attempted to diagnose the source of her pain.  Things became really difficult when she was told that she was free to go home.

It took myself and two nurses almost half an hour to persuade Maureen to leave the hospital and get into our car,  During that time she was physically aggressive and verbally hostile to anyone who tried to help her.

Next week provides an opportunity to explore how additional carer support goes down with Maureen.  Carers will be here for 6 hours on Tuesday and Thursday as some unused hours from Christmas and Boxing Day are reallocated.

On the 15th of January Maureen will be going into Alderlea Care Home for two weeks.  We have decided that a two-week Resite Break gives her a better chance to settle in new surroundings and me an opportunity to recover from four weeks of being on very long shifts.

Being a Care Partner is the most difficult job I have ever had in my life and I’ve had some tough ones.  It is important that the level of carer support reflects the demands of the role and is increased as things become more challenging.

The nurse who had saw Maureen in action yesterday is right.  Our current Support Package is inadequate.  It has not kept pace with changes in Maureen’s diagnosis: one of my resolutions for 2018 is to put that right!

 

Dementia: It’s That Time Of Year Again!

Image result for It's That Time Of Year Again PictureGirl Wednesday has arrived with a worrying infection.  She hasn’t stopped coughing since she arrived.  She tells me that all the family has had it over Christmas.  It’s probably too late to do any more than tough it out this morning and I need a break from being on duty for 48 hours.  Thankfully, a friendly Librarian tipped me off about a Reminiscing Session that she is running tomorrow so I may cancel any further chances of Maureen catching an infection tomorrow.

The coughing has intensified whilst I have been typing so I will pop out for a short while and then send Girl Wednesday home on my return.  It would be pointless to contact our Care Agency for a replacement – it’s that time of year when they will struggling to fulfill their obligations

Dementia: From Despair To Hysteria

 

Hysteria word cloud concept. Vector illustration on white

I am wondering what to expect next from Maureen after a very troubled night.  Her early concerns were about missing babies, followed by fears of a dangerous intruder lurking in the house.  I found it difficult to get back to sleep after being woken twice before midnight and foolishly decided to get out of bed and go downstairs – I soon paid for this error of judgment.

No sooner had I gone downstairs than Maureen joined me.  She was preoccupied with her poor memory.  She spent a couple of hours trying to make sense of things.  Despite my attempts to shift her focus, she went over the same ground time after time.  ‘How had we got here, where did all the furniture come from and why couldn’t she remember anything about buying our current house?’ Several cups of tea and the occasional number on YouTube eventually helped her to get back to sleep.

When I returned for my morning shower Maureen was in tears because ‘no one would tell her what to do or where to go’.  Eventually, I discovered that she thought she needed to climb a mountain.  Once I encouraged her to lie down on the sofa she was in fits of hysterical laughter about her dilemma.  This went on for quite some time before she dropped off to sleep again.

Yesterday I regretted that I had cancelled ourLittle Gem’.  I naively thought that because it was Christmas we could do without carers for a couple of days: I’m now well aware that dementia never takes a day off!

Updated at 9.30 am:   It’s a beautiful day in Cleethorpes and getting outside in the sunshine is an attractive proposition.  My problem is how to get Maureen out of her Bat Woman attire before we venture out without causing distress.  I know she has done her best to change her pants but there is no way I can let her wear them on top of her joggers in public!

 

 

Dementia: What’s Good For The Cat!

 

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It is always good when you have placed a loved one in a Care Home to hear that they have settled.  During my time at Madhyamaka, I phoned up Alderlea Care Home several times to hear such reassuring words.  However, once I got my first stint of dental treatment out of the way yesterday I decided to ‘pop’  to see my ‘settled wife’.

I telephoned before my early afternoon visit to check that my presence wouldn’t upset the apple cart.  I got the green light along with a request to bring in some additional clothing as she was currently clad in her dressing gown and Pj’s.  What they didn’t add was that her top was back to front and her pants inside out.  She also had socks on and one slipper that didn’t belong to her.

Maureen seemed very settled when I saw her singing Christmas Carols as she stood trying to adjust her attire.  She didn’t seem particularly interested that I had turned up as she sang along to one carol after another.  I eventually joined her on a sofa and held her hand for a while – she told me ‘we didn’t need permission’ for such behaviour.   I only stayed for an hour as I had to return for further dental treatment.

Maureen was far from settled when I returned to Alderlea around 8 pm.  She was very distressed that she would need to ‘sleep on the floor because there were no beds available at her hotel’.  She was very pleased to see me and introduced me to a couple who had been looking after her.  Maureen mistakenly believed they were deaf and dumb.  She continued to make hand signals to them for a while but eventually joined in with the gentleman when he burst into song.

Maureen told me that she was exhausted as she had been walking around all day.  However, when I eventually found her room she couldn’t get out of there fast enough.  At ten ‘o’ clock I was encouraged to go home so that staff could get on with their night time routines.

I have only had a glimpse of what it is like to be ‘settled’ in Alderlea Care Home.   My initial impression is that staff are constantly under pressure to meet the complex needs of their residents.  Last night a resident had fallen and staff had to focus on keeping her comfortable until the paramedic arrived.  They would have missed some of the things that I saw going on and they would have been unaware that Maureen received more than her fair share of vitriol from another resident whose ‘tiredness’ had apparently taken its toll on her presentation.

My Admiral Nurse told me some time ago that ‘she wouldn’t leave her cat with someone she didn’t know’.  Hearing your wife is settled can be reassuring when you are away from home – seeing what that means is another matter.  To use the local lingo you can guess where I will be ‘popping’ or even ‘nipping’ to in the next few days.  I have to check if they are ‘kitten’ me!

 

 

Dementia: Three Sleeps To Go!

 

Image result for Three Sleeps to Go PictureI’m counting the nights of sleep until Wednesday; rather than looking forward to the arrival of Santa.  Following little sleep, in the last few days, Maureen will be going to Alderlea Care Home on Wednesday morning, for a slightly earlier than scheduled Respite Break.  If I’m sensible I will be able to hold the fort until then after a very difficult few days and nights.

Yesterday evening, things became very challenging shortly after ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ when Maureen became convinced that a baby was in danger of hypothermia.  It took me a long time to convince her that the poor little mite was safely wrapped in a blanket.

During the night she woke several times; initially convinced we were about to go into battle.  Then she was searching for a missing teenage grandchild.  Later on, she was shouting for her mum because she thought she had swallowed a marble.  She then returned to the missing baby theme as I was making her an early morning cuppa.

I always try to go with Maureen’s reality and resist arguing with her concerns.  However, on a couple of occasions, I have found it difficult to provide the reassurance that she is obviously seeking.  When I told her that her granddaughter was probably tucked safely up in bed in Coventry she called me a liar.  Obviously, I got that one wrong but when you are woken in the middle of the night it’s not easy.

Today’s carer will be here at noon and I’ll be heading off to the Sauna and Spa at Cleethorpes Leisure Centre!

Dementia: Open All Hours

 

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I sought help at 4 am this morning after a dreadful night.  Firstly, I spoke to Single Point of Access to ask them to pass on a message to our Key Worker that things were getting out of hand.  Then I contacted a Mental Health Nurse in the Konar Suite about Maureen’s presentation.  She gave me excellent advice and suggested coping strategies based on her experience of Maureen when she was in their care.

It is possible that my attempts to provide additional stimulation for Maureen in the evening have upset the apple cart.  It was lovely to see her singing and dancing to Nat King Cole yesterday but a quieter evening might have led to a more peaceful night.

It is so helpful to have support available 24/7 when the going gets tough!

Dementia Love verses Attachment

Today’s Buddhist message is from Mexico:

The same as any Care Partner I need to focus on Maureen’s needs rather than my own.

She woke up this morning saying that: ‘no one wants me I’m too much trouble.  I can’t do anything for myself now.’

My reassurance that she means everything to me doesn’t cut any ice when she feels so lost and alone!

Dementia: From Dancing Queen To Despair

 

The words of Maureen’s Consultant on the Konar Suite rang out this morning: ‘there will be fluctuations in her presntation’:

Monday evening: As I prepared our evening meal Maureen was in exceptional form.  She sang and danced along to some of our favourite records.  Sometimes she invited me to join her at others she pranced around the dining room like a ballet dancer.  I have a lovely video clip of her virtuoso performance that I am not able to post here.

Wednesday morning:  Maureen stirred beside me in bed a short while ago, so I greeted her as Charlie Drake with: ‘hello my darling’.  She responded with: ‘I want to go home, I hate it here: no one ever comes to see me’.  When I foolishly responded with ‘I’m here’ she said: ‘you only feed me to keep me to keep me alive and you never take me anywhere’.

I accept that Maureen’s presentation will continue to fluctuate.  However, we do struggle for visitors as our closest family members live over a hundred miles away and lead busy lives.  However, I’m hoping the VACANCIES SIGN on our newly built Sun Room might help on that front.  We are now well equipped to cope with a couple of visitors overnight in our en-suite extension and look forward to the bookings rolling in.

 

 

Dementia: Home At Last

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Maureen came home from the Konar Suite yesterday afternoon.

I intend to spend a minimal amount of time on social media over the next few days.

My priority is to help Maureen settle to being back home after being in an Acute Mental Health Unit where she has had a high level of support available 24/7.

Maureen hardly slept last night and is frightened by yet another change of environment.

I’m hoping my Admiral Nurse will be here shortly so we can chat about how to help Maureen settle as quickly as possible and regain a semblance of independence.