The Dementia Diary

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on March 8, 2012

The other part to husband’s decision to reduce our visits to F i L was the decision to hire in some help.  Some months ago, owing to the amount of hours I was having to dedicate to looking after F i L, in person and in terms of sorting out bills etc., we discovered that he qualified for Attendance Allowance to pay towards that care.

He didn’t want strangers in the house (apparently Jehovah’s Witnesses aren’t strangers and it’s fine to have them in for tea and cake!) so I’ve been struggling on doing everything, and he’s been giving the allowance to me and my husband.  We’ve been clocking up 30 plus hours per week.  The allowance isn’t a lot.  It equates to 3 hours ‘professional’ care but using that allowance for a few hours care per week will give us at least one evening off per week. YAY!

Last night the Senior Carer came to visit to assess what needed to be done and how much time would be needed.  We are very fortunate in that, compared to some, F i L’s dementia is really very manageable.  He is able to dress and bathe.  He can do much of his housework.  His cooking skills aren’t wonderful but he can heat up ready meals.  He just gets very confused and is VERY forgetful.

We thought that someone could come in two evenings per week to cook for him and do some of the trickier housework, like vacuuming the stairs or cleaning the bathrooms, that would take the pressure off of us.

The Carer asked him some questions to get a feel for what he likes and what he needs.

“What do you like to do?”

He couldn’t remember at first.

“Oh! Painting.  I’m not very good but I used to enjoy painting.”

“And photography.” I added

“Why do you want to know?” he asked.  He seemed suspicious.

Husband and I already realised that this was a way of building a diversion tactic for when he gets upset and confused.

“So that we have something to talk about” she said  “What time would you like someone to come in to cook for you?”

He rambled on around how he likes to eat in the evening, not lunchtime, in the evening and eventually settled on 5.30pm.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Then he starts asking how the gradations on the dials on the hob are set up.

“I could understand with the gas hob.  If I wanted to cook potatoes I put it on number 3, but I don’t know now.”

“What was the top number on the gas hob?”

“Eight I think”

“What’s the top number on this hob?”

“Eight I think”

“So if you used 3 on the gas hob it must be the same on this one?”

Apparently I was missing the point.

The Carer had to check the mobile phone signal at the house, and getting out  her phone triggered an old discussion.

“I’ve got a mobile phone” F i L said “but they won’t show me how to use it!”

Not true.  We’ve spent hours showing him.  Hours and Hours and Hours and Hours.  He can’t switch it on. He can’t switch it off.  He can’t type in a phone number.  He definitely can’t use the integrated phone book.  He can’t remember what we tell him.  We are so frustrated with this ongoing fixation with wanting to be shown how to use his bloody phone but not being able to, that we just say no. No, we are not showing you how to use your phone.  And of course that’s the thing he remembers!

“Perhaps one of your ladies can show me how to use it!”  F i L is grinning.  He thinks he’s solved his problem and got one over on us.

Husband steps in, and is very clear that he is serious.  “No-one is to discuss mobile phones in THIS house.”

The Carer is uncertain.  Are we joking?  She looks at husband, then me, then husband.  It’s written in our eyes.  We mean it.  No mobile phones.

I take her around the house to see what needs to be done, and the mobile phone debate continues in our absence.

When we get back to the room he is starting to fret.

“So someone will come on a Tuesday and Thursday?”

“Yes”

“At what time?”

“5.30”

“On a Tuesday and Thursday?”

“Yes”

We talk about the brand new vacuum cleaner (that we spent 5 hours buying at his insistence) that he can’t remember he has so he uses his 42 year old one.  We talk about his cooking ability and the fact that (with a nudge and a wink) he wants to learn to cook.  Carer knows what we mean and asks if F i L will help peel potatoes.

“So someone will come on a Tuesday and Thursday?”

“Yes”

“At what time?”

“5.30”

“On a Tuesday and Thursday?”

“Yes”

“At 7pm?”

“No at 5.30, you said 5.30”

“Oh good yes.  5.30 is better”

So now he’s worried that if he goes out he won’t be back in time.  He’s worried that the bus might crash.  He’s worried he might get lost again.  But they will be there on Tuesday and Thursday at 5.30.

 

 

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