June 5 2013

We had some sad news this week. Our family doctor, Dr George, died 3 weeks ago. We had been his patients for 13 years and always found him to be helpful and understanding. The saddest part of this is that he was only in his 40’s and had a young family. When we first attended his surgery I distinctly remember saying to him that we were looking for a younger doctor who would be around to see us into our old age. I have a particular reason to applaud his work because of his persistence in following up a quite serious medical problem I had 4 years ago when after attending an emergency room I was told the condition was “not serious enough yet” and to come back in 4 weeks time.

My wife’s personal care  assistance (PCA) started last week. She has two ladies who come taking it in turn on Monday Wednesday and Friday. One of them is going above and beyond the terms of the care plan, including giving hand and foot massage as part of the assistance.

Last week also saw my wife start at Banksia Day Centre. She will be attending there each Tuesday. Yesterday as I dropped her off I was asked if I would stay and watch a demonstration of a robot which is designed to boost the emotional well-being of people with dementia. It is being trialled in some resident’s homes to see how they can assist residents and their carers. I may have a lot more to write about this in the next few weeks.

Now we have personal care in place and 3 days a  week in Day Centres our weeks are tending to be more predictable and less stressful. There have been no more sundowning episodes since the bad one a few weeks ago.

Communications is still pretty bad between us. For example if I ask my wife to close the door behind her as we enter our home she will do the exact opposite. If I say turn left when directing her to the bathroom (because she longer knows where to find it) she turns right. It becomes much less stressful to lead her where she needs to go, and close all the doors myself.

Mirrors are becoming a problem for her because she doesn’t recognise herself when she looks in the mirror. I have found her on more than one occasion having a conversation with her own reflection.

I have got quite a collection of 50’s and 60’s music now. It is good to watch my wife stand up and move to the rhythm and beat of the music and sing the words of the old songs from her youth. The secret with this is not to do it for more than 30 – 40 minutes and then only once a day.

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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