Dementia: ‘Are You Going To Take Me Out?’

I decided to head South rather than North yesterday. This meant forgoing the tranquility of the Buddhist Centre in Pocklington for an opportunity to catch up with family in Coventry. As soon as I set foot in ‘The Sanctuary’ I knew I had made the right decision. Just the smell of the place and seeing engineers at work brought back such happy memories of my days on the shop floor in the car industry. As always I got wise counsel from my brother in law as he took time out from his hydraulics business. The loud bang as my nephew blew out part of a component that was in for repair reminded me of the narrow escapes I’d had in my days as a manual worker.

After checking into the Royal Court Hotel I popped in to see my brother in his Nursing Home. I found him in his favourite chair in the Dining Room. He has been on Continuing Health Care for years which gives you a measure his Alzheimer’s. It took me a while to get him to smile and that was his only meaningful exchange during my visit. He seemed to be preoccupied with his hands: making movements as though her had a hair caught in his fingers. We sat together for over half an hour with only pop music in the background interrupting the silence.

Mum greeted me with her usual ‘have you to come to take me out’ and I did. It was such a lovely day as we travelled to Coombe Park as mum continued with her normal reaparte how many cars were on the road. Her vascular dementia means that conversation is often very limited although she did ask me where my wife was.

We sat for over half an hour and shared our customary ‘99’. She seemed rather tired on our return to her Care Home almost falling asleep as she reclaimed her chair and began to comfort her baby doll. As I was leaving I assured her I would be back soon to take her out again.

As I drove back to my hotel I though about the lack of resident activity in mum’s Care Home and my brother’s Nursing Home. The majority of inmates in both institutions were slumbering in chairs some were on them moving around my brother’s place; all were stationary in mum’s. My thoughts then shifted to Maureen reminding myself of the news that they were ‘not letting her out in the garden because they feared they would not be able to get her back in’.

I managed to switch off a little as I enjoyed the warmth of the Spa and Sauna when I returned to Royal Court. As always I found people to talk to and had an interesting conversation with an IT Engineer and a couple from Latvia. The conversation was also in full flow as I joined my sister and her husband – the owner of ‘The Sanctuary’ – for the second half of the Semi-Final of the FA Cup and a lovely evening meal.

Today I have another busy day with an early morning visit to my eldest daughter and her family. I then hope to find my way to see my younger sister and her son at her home in Warwick. There are other possibilities if time is on my side.

Unfortunately, the news from Homefield House isn’t so good this morning. Maureen had appeared to be settling down but last night she refused to go to bed. If she doesn’t get some rest soon then things will turn from bad to worse. How fortunate that I feel refreshed from this short period of Respite and ready to resume my role as a supportive Care Partner to my dear wife. The issue of how I can continue to have Respite when I need it can be parked until we meet with our Key Worker a week on Tuesday.


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