What I don’t know about dementia could fill a universal shopping basket. But I do find talking with mum reasonably ok, even now. I’d say she’s even improved slightly over the last few weeks. What I find more difficult are those moments when she can be quite aggressive – swearing and the like.
But I managed ok today. It is a bit like being with a large child using diversions to distract them. And we discovered Dobbie’s Garden Centre restaurant where we shared a terrific chocolate cake over tea and coffee. It was only after we’d left the restaurant that mum pulled out two packets of biscuits (only 2 in a pack). How had she got those?! I had kept my eye on her the whole time. Or so I thought. Anyway, I didn’t hand them back in.
When we got ‘home’, I gave them to Lill, the unit manager, from mum. Mum has been really hard work to manage and they wanted to change her medication. We’re resisting as upping med seems to be a first response. That is slightly unfair when you hear mum has smashed a glass vase across the floor, punched a member of staff, ran the taps and flooded her room (twice in one day – I think she may have wanted to put a line of washing out!). But changing her medication in the past has left mum unable to take in food and drink unaided until she became severely dehydrated. It is a matter of trust and medication ought to be a last resort.
But I don’t think anyone is against mum. We’re all trying to make this work as best we can. She is on ‘behaviour watch’ and her next ‘home’ could be one for violent octogenarians. I use the term ‘violent’ relatively, almost proudly. If she hits you, for all her frailty, you will feel it. She’s pretty solid. Still, I look into her eyes and I feel her love for me. We hold hands like sweethearts or like a parent and child.
Let me tell you this story. I drove her to Hale village, just past Liverpool airport. You can walk down to a lighthouse, takes about 20 mins there and back. It was a bit blowy, though dry and mum was in her slippers. Her shoes were still damp. When we got there, mum would not get out of the car. So, we went back to Dobbie’s cafe for tea and cake. She had no problem getting out of the car there. She may have severe dementia but she’s not soft.