Dementia: A Significant Distraction

I was running out of gas yesterday afternoon as Maureen continued on her mission ‘to go home’.  As soon as I arrived back from shopping she was on the case moving our belongings from the house to the car.  Nothing seemed to shift her from sorting out what we needed to take with us, and what could be left behind.  I tried every trick in the book to distract her but even the prospect of lunch failed: ‘she wasn’t hungry’.

Maureen waited patiently as I ate some soup and was then off again.  Fortunately, I knew that if I played for time reinforcements were pending. Marie from the Home Treatment Team had phoned earlier in the day to say that she would be with us around 2 pm.  During a break in proceedings, I managed to get a message to Marie about Maureen’s current presentation.  When she breezed into our house she had Maureen in the garden within minutes, putting our washing out on the line.  I needed a breather after a busy morning so I cycled to a nearby post box to send some mail.  Laughter greeted me on my return as Maureen and Marie foraged in our garden.  I left them to it and retired to my office in our box room.

Marie stayed with Maureen for over an hour.  I popped downstairs occasionally to make the odd intervention or join in with the laughter that was a constant feature of their intercourse. As Marie’s visit drew to a close she mentioned that she would return next week to go out with Maureen for a walk.  She also mentioned that it would be helpful if I could find out if our social dancing group was still taking place.

Maureen was very animated  following Marie’s visit.  She was clearly excited about being in Marie’s company again.  In fact, Marie dominated her thinking and conversation until she admitted she needed to rest after such a busy afternoon.

The Home Treatment Team have come to my rescue on many occasions since Maureen’s diagnosis of dementia.  I’m reluctant to single anyone out for praise as they are a team of professionals who are highly skilled at crisis intervention.  Yesterday Marie, like many of her colleagues, was able to distract and redirect Maureen to good effect.  How fortunate we are to have such a skilled team available to us: providing person-centred care to support us staying together in our own home.


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