Dementia: Independence v Safety

Maureen often walks around the garden and on her final stretch holds onto the washing line as she completes her circuit.  I have now stuck a copy of this photo onto the marital bedroom door to help her identify it as a safe place to sleep.

It is important to avoid her feeling that she is ever locked in so I have told her where we keep keys for the front and back doors.  Hopefully this will help her to retain a semblance of independence: it’s her house so she should have access to keys.  When she goes out by herself she is looking for me; which is fundamentally different to aimless wandering.  When I know I’m going to be out of sight I take two precautionary measures; switching on the Baby Monitor and leaving  details of my whereabouts on a whiteboard.

Just to be on the safe side I resumed camping  on the lounge floor last night.  My new system worked as I ushered Maureen up to her room at 1 am  and she clearly liked having her photograph on the bedroom door.

We have spent the last couple of hours listening to YouTube.  When I put on our Songbird

I saw the sadness in Maureen’s eyes: she misses Maeve as she is the only living contact with Denise, her departed daughter.  My mission today is to see if I can get Maeve to visit ASAP and also that ‘Top Dude’ nephew of mine.   Maureen often talks about the lovely time she had showing Tim around the place – she is his ‘Favourite Lady’ but he says that to all the girls!  Family contact is rather sparse at the moment but that seems to be par for the course when dementia is an unwelcome visitor.

I am hoping the progress we are making is a move in the direction of being taken out of Special Measures.  However I’m long enough in the tooth to know that one swallow doesn’t make a summer:  with vascular dementia you can only ever have a ‘Working Position’.

The ‘Newbie Carer’ was excellent yesterday and I haven’t heard Maureen laugh so much for ages.  Dianne and Maureen sat on a garden bench for a long time in fits of laughter; goodness knows what they were up to.  Dianne is back again at 10.30 am and I owe Gary, our replacement social worker, sincere thanks for sending such a cool carer our way.  If we can retain her on a regular basis we that will put a new perspective on weekends, as I will be able to pop out to have some further welcome time to myself.

Great News: the front door bell has just rang and Maureen is at the door.  She tells me she has just been out for a short walk around the block: Amazing Maureen!  She’s got the bug now and we are just off down to the beach…….

I hope to be able to revert to one post a day from now on.

Edit: The beach walk didn’t happen as Maureen decided she had already had a lot of exercise this morning.  Mike my neighbour tells me she has been walking up neighbours’ drives on her travels.  At 8 am she is asleep in bed: that photograph on the door seems to be helping!


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