wings and things

10. Dementia Context

on July 18, 2017

Yesterday afternoon, when I visited Anthony in the nursing home, he was in bed. He’d been showered and had been up in the broda-chair (armchair-on-wheels) all morning and was tired.

I positioned my chair so that my face was close to his and this was our conversation:

Anthony: I was so depressed yesterday, Jules.

Me: Why? What happened?

Anthony: Well, I went down to Bridgetown to help out but all the farms are in disarray.

Me: So did you manage to fix some of the problems?

Anthony: Only some.

Me: I can ring Fred if you like, or Simon? Just to make sure?

Anthony: Good idea.

Me: So are you still depressed?

Anthony: A bit.

Me: So what can I do? I’ve rung the guys and they are fixing everything right now! It will all be okay, Ants – I promise.

Anthony: Beautiful.

Me: What is beautiful?

Anthony: You.

Dementia doesn’t equal death. People like Anthony can survive for many years with Dementia, either at home, or in care.

I feel so passionate about raising awareness that people with Dementia, even if they don’t know who you are anymore, cognitively, still appreciate a conversation, a hug, and, most importantly, your presence in their lives.

To begin with, nearly six years ago, I could hardly bear my visits to Ants because of how heartbreaking they were. He wanted to come home and I wanted him to come home and, yes, we tried this over and over again but his Parkinson’s Disease won. Once he couldn’t walk that was it and I had to get the wheelchair taxi to come and get him and take him back to the nursing home. I felt as if I had abandoned my soul one Christmas when this scenario played out in my mother’s driveway in the midst of our family get-together.

Context: Anthony was/IS a dairy farmer.

He has never lived in Bridgetown.



6 responses to “10. Dementia Context

  1. ksbeth says:

    what a perfect response. i read something recently that advised, when in this situation, no matter what your loved one has said that makes no sense or seems disjointed, simply respond -‘yes, and? -” your loved one will answer without being judged or corrected.

  2. susanpoozan says:

    I love your conversations with Anthony.

  3. Yeah my nan lived with Alzheimer’s for 18 years and was at home being cared for by pop for the first 12 years

  4. Everyone needs to read this.

  5. My dad died of complications from Alzheimer’s, and several older relatives on my mother’s side suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s. So I do wonder if this will eventually happen to me (which is why my blog is called–Before I Forget). After my father died, I worked for 3 years as a Visiting Angel in Virginia, often as a companion for people with dementia. Since I have moved to Texas, I have been volunteering in a memory care center–I bring music and song.
    Anyway, I just want you to know that I think ‘Ants’ is absolutely correct. You are beautiful.

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