Dementia Diary Day 29
 A Self-neglecting carer is as useful as... 

Dear Dementia Diary

The post came this morning and all the details about Mum's bank account have been changed and are now in my control, which means I can start buying clothes for her tomorrow. The cheque book is on the way I am sure. - Gwendolen about her nefarious dutiesGwendolen about her nefarious duties

Image by Anna Waldl

For the dementia carer, the road to ruin can be paved with exhaustion and heartbreak

The routines for Saturday should one of great personal achievement and productivity. I'm not sure that I achieved anything really. I tried to clear the drainage to the field without success. There was no need to cut the grass. Then there was the tick-tick of the countdown.

I speak of obligation again. I have become decidedly asocial and, even though I enjoy the companionship of my cousin, it still feels like another obligation and I am a bit ashamed about that other than Nell she is my best friend.

The day's plan is changing yet again, and I agree with Nell that I should aim to retire not to achieve great things, but just to potter and allow everything to be completed in its own time – just pootle back and forth until an objective is achieved. The timescale would whatever is appropriate. However, as I say, right now there is the tick-tick running down in the background.

I'm not sure what I achieved this morning. Other than move up and down the road a few times I did venture to look at the greenhouse at the top of the road. It looks like there is preparation afoot and there may even be some vegetables, probably potatoes, struggling in the soil. I have to be honest, the greenhouse soil looks terrible. If they do have anything in the ground then it will have to mulched heavily to get some nutrient in there.

Curiously, I run out of time. Lunch was the fry-up I promised myself. I really should not be eating meat. And then I added insult to injury by adding added two fried eggs to complete the fat-fest.

A condition as fragile as a near-fractured smile

I picked up my cousin and we travelled across to Mam’s care home. We had a brief conversation with Gwen as we came. Once again, she was dabbing her eyes. David was sat next to her and looked pretty settled. That is until he finds a purpose and wanders off to rip something off the wall. It is heart-breaking. David used to be a leader in his community and chapel, and a very competent individual who was respected by so many people. Other than when his children visit from afar, only Gwen is there every day.

Mam was sat at the big table and had just finished her tea. After a desperate greeting, we sat with her. For a short while, Mam was tearful; however, it passed and overall, she was in a better place than last night. I choose not to think of how she is when we are not there because dealing with her upset when I am there is only just about bearable. Each event digs away at my stamina.

We talked for a while and she smiled a great deal. Lovely smiles that will keep me going for quite a while. Mam loves seeing her niece. I think it’s because she cannot visit regularly and may not be immediately tied to her suffering.

A dementia carer must have a hinterland

When it comes to the facts about dementia treatment, then a carer must have an Elsewhere.

For some sad reason guilt and exhaustion go hand in hand. Trust the care home and give yourself time off to … dance, sing in a choir..?

For Gwendolen, nothing is sacred... or safe

Gwendolen was on a mission again, striding purposefully up and down the corridor and popping in and out of other residents’ rooms with swag stuffed up her sweater. Margaret was in bed and we wondered why. A day of depression possibly, but I know that she is attended to. I would venture into her room to say hello, but it would not be appropriate.

Margaret was clearly further up the food chain that the rest of the residents and was always ready with an appropriate courtesy or biting comment on fellow residents.

My cousin pointed out an irony in what Gwendolen was telling us about people at the bottom of the place stealing things: there she was, with a pile of loot up her own jumper.

Sofia was wondering about looking cold and worried distraction. We said hello and she smiled in response, but it faded quickly. Janet, the head nurse, once said that occasionally a part of the individual sometimes realises that she or he is not where she should be.

It hangs around them as a melancholy for quite a while but is eventually forgotten.

More Facts about Dementia Symptoms CLICK HERE

Improving the experience of Dementia and Enhancing Active Life (IDEAL) CLICK HERE

Join Vascular Dementia Research CLICK HERE

I really cannot remember much more of the stay, other than after we spent some quality time with Keith the cat down in reception, we left in my car, which was making its worrying noises as usual.  We went to my cousin's house where we ate a meal that she had cooked for us. It was lovely and we talked a fair bit after that struggling to divert the conversation toward gossip rather than reality.

One of the things we discussed the issue of some socially autistic friends who seem impervious to reality of what they are doing and appear to lack a common-sense perspective of many of the things they said and did. They appear so blindly confident. It is not conceit but ignorance of being in a broader landscape where their behaviour and attitudes toward others have an effect.

Your Own Mental Health

Being a family carer for someone suffering from any type of dementia can be very exhausting. It is very important that you look after yourself otherwise you cannot fulfil the role that you have chosen for your self, or find yourself in because of circumstances.

May I respectfully guide you to check out these links, which I hope you will find useful and supportive.

Mental Health America

MIND for better mental health

Advice on Strokes

Stroke is probably the most significant cause of Vascular Dementia. It pays to be aware of lifestyle choices that might lead you there. Click Here


It's been a pretty good day weather-wise even though Margaret appeared at 7:15 this evening and declared that it was dark outside. Such is her hallucination.

I am not sure what my Mum’s internal thinking is in adjustment to her being resident here. Anyway, put that to one side and she remains a very beautiful woman and with a smile that all the carers comment on. I thanked Vernon and the ladies for taking care of her last night.

Something has changed in the care home. I had a chat with Janet about it when we arrived. Management, apparently.

Do you have any advice or stories to share?

Please feel free to share

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