dorothystewartblog

about writing and life and God

Dementia Diary 27: You need a friend

on December 8, 2012

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They say a dog is man’s best friend. My contention is that every carer needs a buddy – someone in the self-same situation, or just a bit further down the road. Someone who really understands where you are today because they’re there too, or they’ve been there very recently. 

I’m very blessed with someone like that. We talked this morning just as I was going out. We talked about guilt, stress and distress, suicidal thoughts, not coping at all. And we laughed at one another’s stories.

Then off I went to fetch my husband for a day out.

I – and the weather – had kyboshed yesterday’s attempt at an outing. I hope that’s a polite word. I ransacked my synonym larder for a word that would express my meaning but most of them weren’t polite. Yesterday I had crawled home in the snow and hunkered down in my guilt and despair, waking this morning with it still heavy on me.

But the morning was clear and dry and bright and I wanted to make up for yesterday. So we did Friday’s outing today. And I coped.

Yes, it is more strenuous and stressful going Christmas shopping with someone with dementia – but we managed. He loves shopping. Loves shops. Loves browsing. So it was a good outing for him.

We ate again at the Chinese restaurant we found a few weeks back and it was even better than I remembered.

And on the way back to the car, I even managed to go into a couple of clothes shops and get some glad rags for the Christmas party and Christmas lunch at the residential home.

A completely different day from yesterday. Yes, maybe he was having a better day – but so was I. Thanks to my friend/buddy/companion on this path/partner in crime.

Every carer needs one!

Text: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for our friends who understand what we’re going through because they’re there too or they’ve been there themselves. Bless them and support them. And show us who we can be a helper and a buddy to too, that we may pass along the encouragement and support that we receive.

Self-care Suggestion: If you haven’t got someone like this in your life, you need to find one! Local branches of the various organisations for carers and illnesses like dementia, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease etc. are often able to bring people together to support one another. Residential homes often organise family support groups. It’s worth getting involved. Knowing that you’re not alone, you’re not the only one feeling the way you do makes an enormous difference – and helps the other people too.

P.S. 

If you’ve got time, you might be interested in hearing me speak about my experience of my husband’s dementia. Lin Ball (ex-chairman of the Association of Christian Writers and now part of the  media team with Torch Trust) interviewed me recently and the interview is to be broadcast tomorrow, Sunday 9th December on RNIB Insight Radio (catch it online, on FM101, Sky 0188, or freesat 777)  at 9 a.m., and on Premier Christian Radio (online, on MW 1305, 1332, 1413, on DAB, on Sky 0123, and on Freeview 725) at 4 p.m. If you miss both but still want to hear it, you can find it for a few days on the Torch Trust website: http://www.torchtrust.org/smartweb/downloads/downloads and scroll down to the bottom of the page.

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