I am really looking forward to Saturday when I will see mum again after such a long time of not being able to get to Coventry. I just wonder why it is so simple for me to have an away day every other weekend now, when it has been so difficult in the past? Some colleagues on Talking Point have raised questions about my, combative style, and my approach to commenting on poor professional support. However, it is reassuring to see that the Local Authority have responded so openly to my concerns, and provided a social worker who is a dementia specialist to ensure that appropriate support is now being put in place.
One of my sister’s phoned the other day to say that my mum is being assessed to see if she needs a walking frame. I’m not at all surprised as the last time I saw her I realised how difficult it was for her to get around safely. She is ok if she is holding on to your arm, with a stick in the other hand but is very unsteady on her feet unsupported. I wonder if her current state is inevitable and that at 94, with vascular dementia taking its toll, we will all need some form of walking aid or another?
I just have a sneaking feeling that mum’s condition has been brought about by her environment. She is a resident in a small Care Home and is mainly chair bound. For long periods of the day she sits in her chair staring into the middle of the lounge. She is mobilised when she needs to go to the toilet or at meal times. From what I have seen that is her daily routine.
It isn’t rocket science to realise that muscle strength and tone is maintained by exercise. The mantra of ‘use it or lose it’, is well-known but it seems to have been difficult to adhere to in mum’s Care Home. It’s probably too late but I would think that my dancing teacher of 50 odd years ago could still have joined me on the floor if others had helped her to keep active. I think it must be over a year since we entertained her fellow residents with our version of the slow Foxtrot.
It is possible that staff at the Care Home are so stretched, looking after the personal needs of residents, that they don’t have time for much else. However, I just wonder if her age and diagnosis of dementia have meant that she has been sold short? Surely some limited form of exercise that did not take place in the chair could have been part of her daily routine. Unfortunately, despite the vigilance of my sisters this has not happened. They tried to nudge the Care Home on lots of issues with little success. So mum will need to be ‘framed up’ or she will be in a wheelchair next. Now I wouldn’t want to be the one who tries to persuade her on that one!