All posts by Remember Me

About Remember Me

I am a retired adult educator. My wife had a stroke in February 2014 and now has mixed dementia. Her recovery from stroke has been exceptional apart from 50% loss of peripheral vision and vascular damage. 'Dharma For Dementia' is my approach to being Maureem's Care Partner: it aims to end the suffering of 'Prescribed Disengagement' (Swaffer) .

Dementia: Black Holes In Care Homes?

Image result for Black Hole picture

I’m convinced there are Black Holes in Care Homes.   There is no other explanation for where some of Maureen’s gear goes whenever she is in Respite Care.   Relentless searches by care staff at Ashgrove have so far failed to unearth her a pair of tights, trousers, and slippers.  If she realises that her slippers are missing we are in real trouble as they are special to her as her sister bought them for her.   The Black Hole in Ashgrove must suck in slippers as a pair went missing on a previous visit.  Perhaps we have got off lightly this time as her watch went when she was in Alderlea.  Thankfully she has forgotten that this special present from her son is missing.  She wore it every day despite the fact that she can no longer tell the time.

Last night Maureen’s aunty came round to look at those old photographs I had found.  It was so sad to see two people who used to be in fits of laughter in such a sober state.  Even reminiscing with someone who had shared those times failed to cheer Maureen up for long.  When I looked across at them Maureen looked years older than her aunt.

I’m struggling to find ways of lifting Maureen’s mood.  This morning she ‘feels useless and wants to die’.  I know that feeling well from my periods of depression.  I’m also well aware this is not a chemical imbalance and antidepressants are not the solution.  She doesn’t need to be taking tablets that don’t work and are likely to give side effects.  Thank goodness my daily visits to the gym are helping my mood: Black Holes may be inevitable but I have to avoid the Black Dog, as Churchill labelled depression, at all costs!

 

Dementia: ‘Help Me Get Better’

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After a two weeks respite break, it’s taking me a while to get up to speed as Maureen’s Care Partner.  I was struggling last night when Maureen thought a woman was going to ‘steal her food and cause her harm.’  She also said that this woman had ‘taken her baby away.’  It took me a long time trying to reassure her that I would keep her safe and ease her into sleep on the sofa.

One good piece of news is that Maureen’s eye infection is clearing up.  The antibiotic cream prescribed over the phone by a Practice Nurse seems to be doing the trick.  Perhaps such minor concerns can be dealt with over the phone but we are really missing the support of our old GP who has retired.  He would have seen us at the drop of a hat!

As I type, Maureen is crying in the next bedroom and when I go to see her says: ‘help me get better’.  I reassured her that I’ll do my best!

Dementia: ‘I’d Die Without You’

There may have been times in our lives when we might have welcomed a loved one saying they couldn’t live without us.  Maureen’s cry of helplessness when she woke up this morning had quite the opposite effect: it brought tears to my eyes. As I helped her to find her way to the bathroom I reassured her that it was only a matter of time until she regained her confidence and became her old self again.

There were some good moments yesterday.  None better than returning from shopping and hearing Maureen and Our Little Gem singing this one:

The girls were in hysterics when I picked up a sweeping brush and danced around the Sun Room as they sang along.  OLG is such a thoughtful carer she had bought us the Mary Poppins LP to add to our collection.

We are now down to four items that are missing from Maureen’s stay in Ashgrove.  I called in there twice yesterday to reclaim more of the missing items.  One of the carers is on a mission to find the rest of the gear. I hope she comes across Maureen’s favourite blanket and slippers.

Maureen continues to be very sleepy and more confused than I recall.  I’m not sure if this is further progression of dementia or the result of a couple of weeks in a Care Home.  I  hope that a few more days of being back in the old routine will ease my concerns.

 

 

Dementia: Early Morning Reminiscing

Maureen came into her own very early this morning after spending most of yesterday catching up on sleep.  She loved looking at some old family photographs that her sister had sent us several years ago.  The one above is my favourite of the big sister of the family with her siblings.

I often think I have turned into a One Trick Pony relying on music to fill our day.  I’m hoping that sifting through these photographs, and many others that are tucked away, will provide hours of happy memories and even lead to some life story work.

If Maureen was in a Care Home now I would say ‘she is settling in’.  She seems to think we have been on holiday together for the last two weeks and says it would be nice to visit Cleethorpes when the weather improves.  Her recollection of happy family holidays here are one of the dominant memories of her childhood.

Dementia: Homeward Bound

I’m picking up Maureen from Ashgrove Care Home in a couple of hours.  I’m hoping that lots of TLC along with the right music will transform her from the little old lady who was asleep in a chair when I popped in to see her last night.  I’m encouraged by the fact that once she warmed up – with the help of a blanket – that the old Maureen was still there: she even invited me to get under the blanket with her!

Mine. No touch.

Kadampa Life

This video moved me, and has helped me generate positive minds all day. So I thought I’d share some of my thoughts on it and invite you to contribute your own in the comments.

  1. The sentience — the sheer life — of animals. Indeed, how they are just like us, wanting to protect themselves and their young. They want to be happy and they don’t want to be hurt. Person, self, being, and I are synonyms according to Buddha. Animals are people. They are he’s and she’s, never its.
  2. Animals possess the same Buddha seeds of compassion and wisdom as we do — they are future Buddhas deserving of love and respect.
  3. How at our mercy animals are. The human in the video could easily take that puppy away and there is nothing the dog dad could do about it.
  4. Will this dad in fact get to keep his puppy?…

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