I have never been fond of the concept of ‘going with the flow’ as an approach to being a Care Partner: it has always seemed too liberal for me. When I read the Dementia Sherpa’s thinking it seemed more my style. As we searched for Jamie yesterday afternoon I think Christy’s hand was close by and led me to the distraction that we needed. Her guidance also helped me to fill in gaps about Maureen’s recent experience in Respite Care.
When Maureen became concerned that Jamie had gone missing again yesterday afternoon I suggested that we should go and look for him. As we searched around our neighbourhood the little boy that Maureen believes she plays tag with was nowhere to be seen. She assured me that he can’t run fast enough to catch her but he is great fun to play with. I tried to reassure her that he was probably in the safe care of his mother but she didn’t think he would be able to find his way home. Fortunately, as Maureen was becoming increasingly upset distraction arrived before our eyes with one of our neighbours walking with her daughter whilst pushing a pram. When her daughter addressed Maureen by name I suddenly twigged: she had cared for Maureen when she had been in Ashgrove.
Maureen enjoyed admiring the baby and exchanging with her great grandmother but she clearly had no recollection of her daughter. Despite several prompts, it soon became clear that Maureen had no recollection of being in Ashgrove less than a fortnight ago. However, there were two important things that I learned during our exchanges. Firstly, Maureen had hardly slept while she had been she had been in Residential Care. Secondly, there had been an exodus of staff from Ashgrove who have joined the previous Manager at a neighbouring Care Home.
I’m clear that Fiblets are a part of my style as Maureen’s Care Partner: honesty is the best policy. I don’t think it is too much to ask for Care Homes to open the books and let their clients know what is really going on in their neck of the woods. Is it too much to ask that they provide a basic written report on how things have gone while a loved one has been in their care and that it doesn’t take so long for missing clothing to be returned to the owner?
Footnote: It’s rough terrain early doors as Maureen is on my case about her car and me taking it out and leaving her at home. I might have to get on my bike today!