Here is one of my conversations with Anthony yesterday –
ME: I think we should get chooks again, Ants.
ANTHONY: Yes – good idea.
ME: But this time we should keep them in the chook-yard and not let them out at all – safer from the dogs and foxes. What do you think?
ANTHONY: So when do you start work?
ME: What do you mean?
ANTHONY: F said you’d be working for R.
ME: The vet?
ANTHONY: The veterinarian.
ME: Okay, the veterinarian if you want to be precise! Well, I’m not sure. Do you think I’d be any good at it?
ANTHONY: Yes, I do because of the chooks.
ME: Well I do love animals ….
ANTHONY: You’ll be fine.
There is a fair amount of debate around whether to ‘go with the flow’ – or not – when it comes to interacting with people who have dementia. With Anthony, I tend to fluctuate between ‘going with the flow’ and telling the truth so yesterday I suddenly became a vet.
But other times, when, for example, he is worried that his mother is home alone, I will gently remind him that she died many years ago. He usually accepts this quite well and is sometimes a bit embarrassed that he has forgotten this fact.
‘Going with the flow’ isn’t so simple though. If someone with dementia thinks there is a monster under their bed, it’s obviously not a great idea to agree. But if someone with dementia thinks there is a family pet under the bed, it’s obviously a great idea to agree.
Carers who work in nursing homes walk a tightrope of tact when responding to residents who have dementia. Alleviating dementia-induced distress can be a minute-by-minute challenge.
As Anthony is my husband, I don’t have to be quite so tactful with him and will sometimes go as far as to say, “You’re talking rubbish again!” OR “You’re hallucinating again!” We can turn the confusion into a joke and/or a hug that way.
Anyway, here they are – the two new hens. I was feeling a bit biblical so I have named them Martha and Mary. Mary is the one with the black feather marking. As you can see they have a huge yard!
I can’t wait to show these pictures to Anthony this afternoon!