Dementia: Visiting Hours


As I have mentioned in previous posts dementia takes no prisoners: get it wrong and you pay for it.  Maureen’s been on the rampage from 4 am this morning; sifting through her clothes trying to find something suitable to wear.  This is the price I’m paying for disrupting her routine yesterday.  Two hours later and she has bedded down on the sofa. It looks like another long day for your truly.

Maureen stayed in bed for the duration of the visit from my sister and her husband yesterday afternoon. Jill popped up to chat to her a couple of times but Rob never caught sight of his sister in law.  We had planned to get together today for a walk but as Jill said: ‘it would be cruel to expect things to be any different tomorrow’.

Jill and Rob are used to coping with the vagaries of dementia, as their mothers are both in Residential Homes.  Jill is used to our mother being withdrawn if she is unable to take her out for a ride in the countryside.  Rob has not seen his mother awake since Christmas. They fully understood Maureen’s reluctance to get out of bed during their visit.

We are all aware the Maureen is ‘unsettled’ at the moment: emotional and cognitive turmoil might be more accurate.  Other family members are planning to visit in the next couple of weeks, and potential arrangements may well need to be revisited.  The last thing we need at the moment is for Maureen to take to her bed, when she could be singing along to some of her favourite music.

It may be sensible to see anything other than the two of us as a crowd at the moment, and even put off visitors for a while.  The other alternative is to have visiting hours that fit in with our normal routines.  Maureen continues to tire very easily, and her afternoon siesta is a must.  This means that visiting, if at all, needs to be for a couple of hours in the morning.  It also seems sensible to avoid eating with others  so they don’t see that some of Maureen’s food can end up on the table or floor.   After our experience on Wednesday eating out is no longer an option:  it causes confusion and embarrassment for Maureen.

We have been developing some postive routines this week which I’ll blog about tomorrow. What we now need to stipulate is that visiting hours are from 11 until 1 from now on, with a maximum of two visitors at any time. Anything else is detrimental to Maureen’s welfare, and is likely to lead to a response that will have consequences for the wellbeing of both of us.


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