Dementia: Trigger Points for Trouble

Things have not been easy this week for Maureen or myself.  Her presentation and confusion has been challenging – to put it mildly.  She has also been exceptionally tired and prone to take lots of naps. There is little doubt that there have been triggers for the changes in her presentation.  I am not a believer in theories that suggest random activity from her injured brain.

On Monday evening it soon became clear that a reminder that she had forgotten a birthday of a close family member had caused immediate, and ongoing, distress. It was the only real memory she had of his phone call, and preyed on her mind the following  morning.  As her emotional memory is still intact it is not surprising that she thought ‘she was going mad’ forgetting the birthday of one of her nearest and dearest.

Yesterday, we stumbled into her Aunty Clarice and Maureen was plunged into her murky past.  Some old photographs had been passed on from the belongings of a relative who had deid.  This led to an hour or so of reminiscing.   Skeletons buried in the cupboard  came out into the open once again.  Therefore, it is not surprising that Maureen became distressed about the man in her bed last night.

We are all at the mercy of our memories.  When you have experienced stroke I am not surprised that you might think you are going mad, with things never being the same again.  You certainly don’t need clumsy relatives reminding you of your inability to recall dates that are important to them.  It is also obvious that if you have buried bad memories it is another occasion where it is preferable to let sleeping dogs lie.

It is unfortunate that many only see Maureen when she is in ‘hostess mode’.  Consequently,they have no idea how frightened and confused she can become.  Unless we can find a way of helping some people to become more Dementia Friendly the road ahead for us will continue to be very rocky indeed.



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