wings and things

Going with the flow of dementia

on August 28, 2015

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!

36 responses to “Going with the flow of dementia

  1. says:

    Greetings from Broome Julie & Anthony

    As usual I love reading your blog, I know you like me have big problems with the bloody foxes, well I purchased these fox lights, they work wonderfully, I purchased 5 of them and have them place strategically around around on the fences, and not had one fox come within cooee of my chock pens or anywhere near. When I get home I will come show you them. They can be purchased from CTR in Busselton, they are the only people who sell them @ $ 89.00 ea, expensive yes but worth every dollar.

    Has been a bloody expensive holiday in Broome this year, put an offer in on a house up here a guess what the people accepted my off, I have never felt so deflated with excitement, believe me my gut was turning over for two days wondering if I’ve done the right thing, today has been joyous news as the real estate agent tells me they can recoup $550-580 a week rent so that makes me believe I did the right move. But when you see $500,000. before your eyes that’s a lot of bloody money in anyone’s language let alone a simple painter for Boyanup – Dardanup. However there is a shortage of homes to lease here so I know it’s a good investment now as housing has hit rock bottom here and it can only go up from here on. HOPEFULLY.

    Anyway Julie keep me laughing with your funny amusing daily blogs.

    Kindest regards Mike.x

    Sent from my iPad


  2. Your conversations with Anthony are most definitely never boring! Hugs Jules xxoo

  3. susanpoozan says:

    His comments will be very interesting.

  4. It is a very fine yard.

  5. I love your Martha and Mary! I learned what chooks are … chickens!

  6. viveka says:

    Julie, as you say …. never a dull conversion – and that must be a plus after all … and about that chooks … I think you should get them .. and I also think you will be a great Vet, but maybe you should skip the surgery bit.

  7. At first I didn’t know what ‘chooks’ were… Diane

  8. tootlepedal says:

    I hope the fox is defeated and the chooks thrive.

  9. The flow of dementia can be a hard wave to ride. Props to you for finding some balance.

  10. He will think it’s good for your veterinarian studies. 🙂

  11. I am inspired by your love and empathy for Anthony.

  12. riainthecity says:

    I really liked reading this. You are very strong 🙂 ❤ Stay Amazing!

  13. aFrankAngle says:

    Congrats on the vet duties. 😉 … but I admit never encountering the words chooks … so thankfully you had pictures.

  14. Judith Post says:

    Oh, fun! My parents raised chickens when I was growing up. If I fed them and collected eggs every day, I got a small part of the chicken coop to have homing and tumbler pigeons. A good bargain:)

  15. how nice that you are easing back in to your birds. angie wants us to “keep” bunnies:) i am not so big on penning up these free ranging hoppers. of course i have friends who think we should get rid of them as they are just pests. we on the other hand are leaving out carrots and such near the woods at the very end of our back yard.

    going with the flow is the only way to deal successfully with the day to day business of illness. you seem to find a way to deal that keeps things from being awkward and unpleasant. i so admire your spirit julie! xoxo

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