Dementia: ‘Sitting Next to Nellie (Chloe)’

I wouldn’t have got through yesterday unless I had watched Chloe, Maureen’s main carer, in action over the last year or so..  I have looked on in amazement on many an occasions as she has cajoled Maureen in positive directions. There have been times when I have been at the end of my tether with Maureen when Chloe has waltzed in and transformed her into my cooperative loving wife.

There have been many occasions in my working life when I have learned on the job by ‘sitting next to Nellie’.  Fred taught me how to be a Cost of Sales Clerk; Roy how to recondition cylinder blocks, and Bob how to run a Youth Club – I could go on.   In the absence of a structured induction I have had to pick up ‘tricks of our trade’ from fellow employees on many a day.   I have also  witnessed a Master Class in caring  from Chloe in our own home.

I think the sentiments behind Chloe’s approach were acted out last Friday.  Time was running out on her three hour slot as Maureen belatedly agreed to have her hair washed.  Maureen enquired if there was time for further pampering and Chloe replied: ‘there will always be enough time for you Maureen’.

The going got increasingly tough  yesterday as Maureen struggled to get through the day.  On several occasions I bit my tongue, as Maureen’s presentation became even more challenging: with the insults coming thick and fast.  I held on hoping that sleep would lead to ‘Mrs Angry’  becoming a figment of  Maureen’s presentation.

As confusion abounded over bed-time and ‘the clocks being wrong’ I thought of what Chloe would do in the circumstances, and then it came to me.  I left the room, changed my language on my return,  and soldiered on with moving us up the ‘wooden hill’.  Lo and behold it worked, and we were wishing each other ‘night night’ before you could say ‘Jack Robinson’.

Chloe is one of the most unassuming individuals I have ever met.  I am very fortunate that I have had the good fortune to ‘sit and stand next to her’ since Maureen’s stroke.  She would never remind Maureen of her faltering memory and wouldn’t even tell her when it’s her birthday!


2 thoughts on “Dementia: ‘Sitting Next to Nellie (Chloe)’

  1. Chloe is amazing I have learned so much from her. Kay came yesterday as Gail is in holiday. We hadn’t seen her for a while and she added another yet another positive dimension. Today’s blog ‘O’Kay’ says it all!


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