Dementia: A Reality Check

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I had a real warning yesterday – a distinct reality check. Maureen was distressed throughout the day: initially worrying she was being discriminated against, then making me aware of the consequences of stealing her car, before accusing me of negligence in my role as Manager of this Care Home.  Her offensive continued throughout the day at a time when I was struggling to stand because of severe pain in my left leg.

Having bilateral hip replacement has solved one set of problems but it has created others. I am no longer troubled by pain in my hip joints but there are days when I have aches and pains in my legs that I could do without. It is clear that sleep deprivation along with a poor sleep pattern is not giving my body a chance to recover from the daily pressures of being a Care Partner to someone who has moderate to severe dementia.

Maureen was on the attack again early this morning accusing me of feigning injury to gain her attention.  Ten minutes later she has cooled down and was pleased that my TENS Machine along with a turmeric based drink may have eased my troubled legs.  I hope she remains in good form as our Advocates for the Best Interest Meeting will be here in a few hours.

Two really positives from yesterday as opportunities for Carer Respite appear to be falling into place.  Firstly, in the morning I returned to Waltham House Care Home to explore a number of options.  I’m optimistic that we have thought through a way of Maureen sampling what is on offer there without causing further distress.   Secondly, in the evening I had a really supportive conversation with Maureen’s son, who despite a busy schedule is keen to help to keep his mum remain in her own home when I take a break.

The BIM is bound to focus the need to build Carer Respite into our Care Plan.  I am optimistic that plans are emerging that will preserve person-centred care for Maureen and ensure my role as her Care Partner is sustainable.  However,  the progressive nature of her condition means that our plans will always need to be flexible to take account of the dynamic nature of dementia.

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