about writing and life and God

Dealing with dementia

on January 11, 2013

Friday is the day I take my husband out. He has frontal-lobe dementia and lives – for his safety and mine – in an excellent residential care home about ten miles away.

In the houses on either side of my home are people also suffering from dementia, but being cared for by carers at home. It feels like an epidemic, a rather threatening one.

But my husband who is completely aware of his memory loss and the tricks his memory plays on him has reached a stage of amazing, and admirable, peace and contentment which amazes me. He talks about it. “You know my memory,” he says self-deprecatingly. And he is completely unbothered.

It’s me that’s bothered. And when I came home after our outing, it was the carer for one of my neighbours who was bothered and close to tears. Going home for the second time that day – the first time because things became impossible.

I am grateful for the care home where my husband lives. I am grateful for the manager who stopped me to say that John’s memory was particularly bad this week and he had become agitated on several occasions. But, she reminded me, it is unpredictable. Some days are better than others.

I am grateful for their awareness and care. For their patience and understanding. Their job is unimaginably difficult and they do it very well.

We had a lovely outing. My husband clearly wants to do less and less. The focus of our outings used to be on a leisurely amble round the charity shops in one of the nearby towns, followed by lunch. Today he said he was more interested in the lunch than the shops. So we had coffee at the wonderful Marlesford Farm Cafe and lunch at the Jolly Sailor in Orford.

And he was happy. And content to return to the home for his afternoon nap.

Digital Image

The sky is beginning to fill with clouds and the colours of twilight tint them with pastel light. Contented dementia is possible if difficult. The clouds do not need to threaten and disturb. “Peace I leave with you,” Jesus said.’My peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)

Jesus keeps His word, but we need to receive it and hold on to it. Peace…




One response to “Dealing with dementia

  1. Helen Murray says:

    I’ve started to write a comment several times but nothing is really adequate. Thankyou for sharing this. I’m praying for you.

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