Dementia: Choosing Your Guru

Last week I cancelled the carer sit on Thursday so that Girl Friday would be here for six hours the following day.  With extra time on my hands, I had to decide between lunch with my Buddhist friends in Pocklington or the company of Girl Friday – my Guru for caring for Maureen.  My choice was made easier by the fact that Girl Friday is only with us for another couple of weeks as she is about to go on Maternity Leave

Girl Friday has been my Guru on how to care for Maureen for over three years and I need to spend as much time as I can with her before she moves onto motherhood. Neither of us was surprised that Maureen’s dementia is now regarded as severe but we were both taken aback by the prescription of trazodone.   We both know that desertion by her family, and living on a Buiding Site are really getting to Maureen at this moment in time.  Medication that has the capacity to sedate her will not increase family contact or speed up the building of our Sun Room.  Girl Friday and I know Maureen needs compassion and empathy rather than medication.

I didn’t regret my decision to stay in Cleethorpes on Friday because YouTube meant that one of my Buddhist Guru’s was still close at hand.  The following video clip on suffering is particularly helpful to anyone who is dealing with dementia:

I managed to catch up with another one of my Guru’s yesterday; a Support Worker from the Alzheimer’s Society.   I knew she was running a Memory Cafe at a local Day Centre and decided to pop in to thank her personally for her support.  For administrative reasons, I have been told that I am no longer able to receive support from this individual.

A new Pathway for Carers means that I’m no longer allowed to have a foot in both camps – I can either use Admiral Nursing for support or the Alzheimer’s Society.  How ridiculous that as Maureen’s dementia progresses, support that I have found extremely helpful has been withdrawn.  This is a battle I could do with winning but I have to focus on more immediate struggles at the moment – the prescription of trazodone.  In my view,  that is the first step on a very dangerous ladder for Maureen.  I have seen how medication prescribed to deal with my brother’s aggression has left him incontinent and just about able to manage a smile.

I have no intention of persuading Maureen to take medication that she doesn’t need and has the potential to harm her.   The suggestion that I should give her trazodone covertly is abhorrent.  Maureen is an intelligent woman and if she discovers I’m deceiving her in any way our loving relationship would be brought promptly to an end. Hell has no fury like Maureen being deceived: particularly when she had that experience in her first marriage!

Footnote: I have decided to engage directly with another one of my Guru’s this morning:  Peter Kinderman Professor of Clinical Psychology at Liverpool University.  He leads this Future Learn Course: ‘Psychology and Mental Health: Beyond Nature and Nurture’ and I have signed up for it a short while ago.



One thought on “Dementia: Choosing Your Guru

  1. Gi agree with you regarding medication, neither Mum nor John had any and were, I am sure, better off for it. My attitude regarding the help was that at the end of the day carers are saving the govt a lot of money and we need all the help we can get in order to carry this out. I am not sure why they keep changing things but usually it is to save them money, it is not about the wellbeing of the patient nor of the carer.

    You are doing very well and I know as do all others who are, or have been carers, know just what it is like for you.

    Liked by 1 person

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