Friday, 20 July 2012

Introduction to dementia

Living with Dementia ...

My Mother nursed most of her life
And the ONE thing that she feared
Was developing Alzheimer’s
Then slid into what she feared.
After Jim died my Mother came
To live with child, dog and me…
I found myself with BIG problems
On top of my hysterectomy.

Some years down the line, Ken’s Mother
Developed dementia, so
We brought the boat home, moored up tight
And put our fun life ‘on hold’:


When you’re caring for someone with Dementia or Alzheimer’s
You have to be prepared for those unpleasant reminders
Life’s just not the same, somehow…it develops a weird ‘angle’
Me, I’ve walked this road before, these problems to disentangle:
I used to travel back and fore, caring for my poorly Mother…

She’d Alzheimer’s and slowly got worse, then MUCH worse (oh, brother!)
While newly widowed, I moved her in to live with teenager and me….
She thought Angharad was trying to poison her…(difficult, you will agree!)
Mum would fight and scream, you see…this refined lady, she would curse…
She makes our poor, dear Sarah a much easier job to ‘nurse’!


This house is very tidy…at least, the downstairs is,
I’ve scrubbed and washed with vigour and done it in a whiz…
I’ve cleaned and sorted cupboards and filled nine wheelie bins…
With newspapers, old Christmas wrap and other ‘useful’ things.
His Mother’s got Dementia…she’s no longer safe alone
And we don’t want her ‘put away’ to wander round a ‘Home’…
We’ve packed up our little cases and come along to live
In three day shifts, first him then me…our time we gladly give!

This once-so-spotless lady hasn’t noticed that
There’s no dust upon the sideboard or newspapers on the mat…
Her cupboards can now breathe again in cleaned and sorted bliss
While the wheelie bin is gasping from too much load, I’d guess.
I’ve left  her five shoe-boxes and a carrier full of bits
I rotate them near her arm-chair, she finds them when she sits
She opens up a letter from her late sister, Madge…
She reads it fresh each time she sees…then finds an old name-badge.

Postcards, receipts, a bus-pass, sixteen letters from old friends
A little book of poems and a picture: memory sends…
A school report of Kenneth’s, David’s old Army ‘Housewife’
All take her down memory lane and brighten up her life.
Then when the bag is empty, she’ll put them all back in
And starts to read it all again, her face lights with a grin…
“Oh, come and see what I have found…just come and look at this…”
Her mind is firmly backwards, wearing a smile of bliss…

Meanwhile I’m hiding in the kitchen throwing out old cans
(They’re out-of-date and rusty…there’s mouldy bread and jam…)
If she should catch me at it, I’d get the ‘sack’ for sure
But she’s happy with her cuttings: “His Granddad lived next door!”
My husband is a marvel of kind patience and tact…
He’s lost all his impatience, he’s wonderful, that’s a fact…
I didn’t know my other half could be so very good…
I admire him and I’m proud of him…let that be understood!

Top photo ... My Mum ... Davina Jones (nee Wilkie)
Second photo ... Sarah, Kenneth and myself

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