December 9

It has been an interesting couple of weeks. Carer Support have been busy following up on the plan we discussed at our last meeting. I am waiting for an appointment to visit a day care centre to see if it is suitable for my wife’s needs. I have also had a call from the Village day care centre asking me to visit the co-ordinator with the same aim in view. Tomorrow I have an appointment with the Village Finance Officer to discuss fees for my wife when the time comes for her to be admitted as a resident.

Last week we had a few days away with a group of friends in Echuca on the River Murray. There were 12 of us in the group with the other 10 electing to travel by train while we travelled in our car. I had anticipated that my wife would have orientation problems in the new surroundings. She even had difficulty remembering her way to the en suite bathroom in the motel room, so I was prepared to have to guide her each time she needed to us the bathroom.

Before we left we had decided as a group to hire 12 seat minibus in which to travel around to the various places of interest. My wife had great difficulty managing the steps up into the minibus and had to be assisted each time we mounted and dismounted. We kept this up for the first day but I decided for the rest of the holiday that we would travel in our own car. It was quite embarrassing for me and my wife the difficulty we had in getting her, firstly up into the vehicle and secondly to sit down on a particular seat near the door to make it easier to exit. All of our friends are very supportive of us both, but I am pretty sure that some of them had their eyes opened a little bit wider to the frustrations that can emerge from such a simple action as boarding and alighting from a minibus.

My wife’s spacial awareness has deteriorated significantly in recent months. For example stepping off a footpath into the road is challenge too far without assistance.  She hesitates before stepping over white lines marked on paving. She will not step on to them. She is also very hesitant while walking on a path which has shaded areas and sunlit areas.

One afternoon when we had returned from our day out I was checking emails on my iPad when my wife said that she was going to see what the others were doing. I followed her soon after she left the room and thought I saw her entering a room of one our group. I returned to my emails and 15 minutes later went to see if I could join her. I knocked on all our friends rooms but my wife was nowhere to be found in any of them nor had she been to visit any of them. I got in the car and was prepared to search the surrounding streets while the friends started to walk in various directions looking for her. We found her very quickly for she had only gone about 300 metres. She had no idea of where she was or how she had got there and wondered what all the fuss was about when I got her in the car to bring her back to the motel.

So it seems that another activity is becoming too much to attempt. My wife’s world and horizons are becoming more and more centred on our home and familiar places and familiar people, with a regular routine in place that is predictable and safe.

About labtad

Born in Halifax, West Yorkshire, England. Migrated to Australia in 1968 and now live in an outer South eastern suburb of Melbourne. Married since 1966 to my wife who was diagnosed with dementia in 2011. I am an imperfect follower of the Christian faith who believes that most things in life happen for a reason or purpose. The last 12 years, since my wife showed the first signs of having memory problems, have gradually taught me patience, compassion and some understanding of the situations that arise when a person Is living with dementia.
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