The Waking Times recently published an article, available <HERE>, outlining the risks associated with taking antidepressants, antipsychotics, and benzodiazepines. The infographics make sobering reading. Once again I count my blessings that we live in North East Lincolnshire where we staff within NAViGO always weigh up the risks associated with prescribing medication and listen to patients. Maureen and I were delighted when after three weeks assessment in the Konar Suite that the Consultant decided that medication was not needed at this moment in time!
Several people have questioned why I keep a close check on how Maureen is doing when she is in a Care Home. I suppose it all started a couple of years ago when I went to visit her in Ladysmith Road Care Home and found her bruised and battered – as you will see in the picture below. Once again I have erased her eyes to preserve her anonymity.
The Care Home said she fell out of bed: sustaining severe bruising to her face and head. They chose not to send her to the hospital or inform me of the incident, which I found bemusing. Unfortunately, this has not been the only occasion when I have had misgivings about Maureen’s welfare during Respite Breaks.
Imagine my concern a couple of years ago when I received a phone call from Ashgrove Care Home to inform me that the police had found Maureen in someone’s garden and they didn’t even know that she was missing. Then on another occasion, I found her in an unused part of the building in an unlit room struggling to open the door.
I bought my last Respite Break, when Maureen was in Alderlea Care Home, to a premature end. She had not slept in a bed for the duration of her stay and I didn’t warm to residents being unsupervised when I popped in one evening.
There have been times when Ashgrove has been in Special Measures. A new Mangement Team has recently worked closely with the Clinical Commissioning Group to raise standards. From what I’ve seen and heard Maureen is in safe hands. I need to let them get on with their job: they will get in touch with me if there is anything I need to know!
The news from Ashgrove Care Home yesterday was that Maureen is settling in. Apparently, she’s teamed up with an old friend from a previous visit and they were walking around hand in hand.
We seem to have escaped the worst of the Beat from the East at the moment with moderate snowfall. However, conditions underfoot are treacherous and I’m not going out unless it is essential as I can’t risk a fall. Maureen may well be in the best place during this cold snap rather than being stuck with someone who may be experiencing a touch of Cabin Fever!
I took a proverbial hammering on Monday night’/ Tuesday morning as I struggled to cope with Maureen’s presentation. She didn’t know who I was or why I was locking her in a strange house against her will. I hadn’t seen Maureen in this mode for some time and it took a long time before any of my attempts to calm her down had any impact.
Eventually, music led to a temporary break in hostilities. I chose my moment and called up ‘You Are My Sunshine‘ on YouTube. Maureen broke into song as she remembered sitting on her dad’s knee as he sang to her. I then chose music carefully to ease her into a sleeping on the sofa. However, my respite from hostilities was brief as when she awoke a short while afterward the attack resumed.
As dawn broke Roving Carers from our Care Agency arrived to give support in response to my call to Single Point of Access several hours earlier. Apparently, it was a busy night with their services in great demand. They stayed for a short while observing that Maureen was ‘very awake’ and left me to it. Their efforts to persuade her to go to bed had fallen on stony ground. She had left them in no doubt that she wanted to ‘go home’.
I didn’t surprise me that after the shenanigans of a long night that the lion went into Ashgrove Care Home like a lamb. Our Key Worker, as always played a blinder, led her by the hand and the Manager played her part met her part with a helpful greeting of ‘hello Maureen how nice to see you again.’ Within minutes she was being asked how she liked her tea and we left her to it: even lions like to be acknowledged and offered a cuppa!
Maureen lived by herself for eight years following her divorce. During that time she slept with a hammer, very similar to the one below, beneath her bed:
After the events of last night, I’m wondering if I should retrieve it from the garage and put it in a place where it is accessible to her. Around 2.30 am I assisted her to find our downstairs toilet. It took her a while to find her shoes that had clearly been ‘stolen and worn by someone else’. After relieving herself she made her way upstairs declaring ‘she wouldn’t stay here much longer’. Then the hammer entered into her thinking.
As she slipped into bed she said ‘she was fed up with men messing with her against her will’. She wondered ‘why they didn’t mess with their own children or wives? Then she said ‘she would be ready for them the next time as she would hit them with a hammer!’
I think the events of early this morning add substance to the <ARTICLE> by Susan Macaulay on memories being far from linear when you have dementia.