Dementia: ‘We Have To Break The Cycle’

On Tuesday when Sue our social worker was here she had a brief word with me after I had retired to the kitchen in frustration. She had gathered that I was a little fed up with Maureen going round in the same loop about me wanting to see mum.  Every time we tried to move things forward Maureen would try to divert us down a road to nowhere.  When Sue popped into the kitchen for a word she said: ‘we have to break the cycle’.  Her words are pertinent, and need to be extended throughout our approach to supporting Maureen.

There is no doubt that having Sue as our social worker has made a fundamental difference to our lives. As I have said before Sue exudes professionalism, and compassion: a fundamental difference from our previous experience of her Department.  I also realise, as my daughter Anna often reminds, me I have a tendency to be impatient: a shortcoming that is unhelpful when dementia is calling the tune.  Maureen’s adage of: ‘slowly slowly catchee monkey’ has to be my mantra: never mind my predisposition for getting things done.

If we are to ‘break the cycle’ we need to have strategies rather than plans with deadlines.  We need to help Maureen focus on what she can do, rather than concentrate on what she can’t.  We also need to have some sort of mechanism for keeping an eye on how things are going.  To start the ball rolling: from now on I will use Monday’s Blog as a review of the previous week.  This will provide an informal progress report, that I can forward to professional staff for comment. Looking back, and glimpsing a way forward, might just help us all to ‘break the cycle’.

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