I have never agreed with ‘going with the flow’ as an approach to supporting someone with dementia. From my perspective, this is an unhelpful approach more suited to describing what happens to dead fish.
Our celebration of Maureen’s daughter’s life was rather an unconventional approach to this journey. Generally, one is encouraged not to mention the death of a loved one to someone with dementia as that might start the grieving process. It did nothing of the sort here yesterday: it helped Maureen to recall lovely events in her belated daughter’s life.
Once workmen were on site thoughts moved in a different direction. At one stage Maureen lamented a thoughtless care worker for ‘allowing so much noise in a hospital where she was trying to sleep’. The day before she had been flirting with the noisy culprit as he took down the bars of her ‘prison windows’.
Maureen has often questioned why two of her children have predeceased her commenting that it has not been fair. She has generally bottled such feelings up. I think it is possible, that the outcome of a missing sock being thrown in her direction and a spillage of hot tea gave her an opportunity to vent yesterday. This led to my status falling from hero to zero within seconds. All sorts of insults were thrown in my direction because my motivation had been ‘to get her wet so she would remove her clothes’. It would be inappropriate to quote her language and the depths she went to in a blog.
My attempts to rescue the situation failed and Maureen spent the early evening poorly clad. I summoned help from a female neighbour, and later a relative, but Maureen was having none of it. A couple of hours later after a hearty evening meal, she changed her tune asking for the trousers that she had sworn belonged to someone else earlier in the evening.
There are two lessons from a very important day in both of our lives. Firstly, going with the flow is not a sensible approach to supporting a loved one with dementia. Secondly, if you try to ‘sock it to someone’ make sure they are not holding a hot cup of tea!