Dementia: Struggling With Orientation

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Things nearly got out of hand at 11.30 pm last night.  Maureen woke up and came into my bedroom like a hurricane wanting to know where the other people were.  I woke up in a daze and mumbled something about the fact that we lived here alone.  What she called me doesn’t need to be repeated but not content with abuse she hurled things in my direction and went on to threaten to smash the place up.  Once again she believed she had been imprisoned here against her will.

Fortunately that storm was short lived and she soon took to the sofa and drifted back into sleep.  I took the opportunity to ring up the Konar Suite to take advice on what to do if Maureen returned to her theme.  Vicky one of the nurses on duty gave me a simple line: ‘everyone else is in bed because its midnight and we need to get back to sleep’.  She also suggested that I add ‘they will be visiting us in the morning’.  It is helful that I canring the Konar Suite whenever the Home Treatment Team is unavailable: little wonder that dementia support in North East Lincolnshire is so highly regarded.


I also made the of giving Maureen too much space as I tried to orientate her and that backfired.  When I came downstairs a while later I thought she had ran off.  After convincing myself that she had gone outside in the darkness I found her cowering in the utility room, armed with a gardening shoe.  Once I calmed her down she told me that ‘the man who lived here had locked her in’.


There have been a couple of other incidents earlier this morning when Maureen has been struggling to orientate herself.  She has been unsure how to find her way to the bathroom or to understand where the others have gone.  She has just asked me what she is doing here as she thinks she lives elsewhere in Cleethorpes.


These incidents during the night were disappointing after a  rather pleasant Bank Holiday afternoon.  We had a seemingly ordinary time together pruning a tree together followed by a picnic in the garden.


 Maureen’s presentation can change very quickly at the moment: with my status going from hero to zero within minutes.  This means that I have to stay vigilant at all times.  I need to be really careful what I say when she is struggling with orientation or I’ll pay a heavy price when I get it wrong.

About Remember Me

I am a retired adult educator. My wife had a stroke in February 2014 and now has mixed dementia. Her recovery from stroke has been exceptional apart from 50% loss of peripheral vision and vascular damage. 'Dharma For Dementia' is my approach to being Maureem's Care Partner: it aims to end the suffering of 'Prescribed Disengagement' (Swaffer) .
This entry was posted in Mixed Dementia, Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Dementia: Struggling With Orientation

  1. I can only imagine how difficult it must be, not knowing which way the wind’s blowing when you wake. You are amazing x x


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