Dementia – Do I Know You?

When I thought about writing a blog regarding this subject I wondered if anyone would be interested.  After all, unless you’re affected by the condition how is it possible for anyone to understand what it can do to a sufferer or their family?  There has been copious amounts written on the subject and I really can’t add anything to that; I can just give a small insight into a life devoured by vascular dementia.

‘How’s Mary?’ is the general question, asked out of politeness and concern.  What canBill and Mary's wedding 06 July 1946 (2) I say?  She’s dementing.  She has been for ten years or more and presumably her heart could go on beating for another ten years.   She knows no-one, not even her own name.  She doesn’t speak unless she’s strongly encouraged and what she says doesn’t make much sense.  She doesn’t walk any more and she’s doubly incontinent.   She kicks and tries to scratch  anyone who touches her as she doesn’t understand they mean her no harm.

For the last four years she’s been in a wonderful residential home who give her the best possible care.   I fed her at lunchtime on Friday.  She chewed a bit of food and then pushed it out of her mouth as if she were a six month old baby.

And yet … and yet every now and again if she hears a particular song lyric or a nursery rhyme, she smiles.  That smile is priceless.  So that’s how we manage to carry on.

We do it for the smile that appears occasionally and I know somewhere deep inside her she’s still Mary Haiselden, my mum.


About jhbooksblog

Hello - I'm Julie Haiselden, an occasional NHS med sec/practice administrator. Mother of three, wife of one, a chaotic cook and published crime/thriller novelist who blogs a bit about books, life and food. School alumna. Occasional am-dram actress/director. I enjoy walking and photography (although my enthusiasm outweighs my skill set). I've recently joined the reviewing team at Whispering Stories and can be found via the following social media sites: I also accept a few hard copy novels to review.
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One Response to Dementia – Do I Know You?

  1. This post actually made me tear up and that very rarely happens. I’m so sorry this is happening to your Mum but I’m glad you get to se a glimpse of her now sometimes. It’s so wonderful that you have found a great residential know, I know they can be hard to come by depending on where you live. The Blokes Dad is in the early stages of dementia (I’ve not shared this on my blog) and his memory is going along with his sense of taste and smell. Sometimes he has delusions or does something odd. My bloke is his full time (8 hours a day carer) and he’s just coping. His dad doesn’t seem to care wether he lives or not – like he’s totally apathetic. I don’t blame him for this but I know it winds the bloke up, when he’s encouraging his Dad to eat a decent sized portion of food etc. Sorry to waffle on the comments of YOUR story but I’m struggling with how to help my very stressed out bloke, bless him.

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