I am convinced that we are all straying into very dangerous territory by not understanding Maureen’s reality. Today’s post will reflect on my shortcomings in this area: tomorrow’s will deal with how significant others are having a similar problem.
My mistake is that I keep trying to take Maureen outside her comfort zone: I am creating discomfort rather than minimising it. This point really came home to me early yesterday afternoon, when I dragged Maureen to Freeman Street Market.
When I look back the experience for Maureen must have been terrifying, and only served to remind her of her poor short-term memory. I shudder when I think about how it must have felt to be in a strange place, with me chatting to people that she didn’t know: no wonder she often questions her sanity!
During my periods of depression I never realised how helpful this experience would become later in life. It is fortunate that I met with Paul Martin my counsellor on Wednesday: something he said stopped me in my tracks. He has always contended that my prime focus as Maureen’s Care Partner is to minimise distress. However, he helped me to see that Maureen’s world is shrinking, and she needs the comfort of familiar surroundings. Only the other day she said that she had ‘forgotten her way around our house’. Sometimes she gets lost finding her way back to our bedroom, after a visit to the bathroom.
It has taken me a few days to let Paul’s message sink in: we need to stay local from now on. Local shops may be more expensive but we can no longer afford the distress that taking Maureen outside of her comfort zone causes.
When I think of my selfish thoughts about my forthcoming 70th birthday I cringe. On what basis can I criticise the involvement of others in our lives, when I was thinking of us going to Portugal, to celebrate my three score years and ten? Sometimes I think it is my sanity that is in question, rather than Maureen’s!