This blog isn’t just about solving tech problems and giving tech tips, sometimes I cover ‘life’ topics.
Well it’s dementia today, from my perspective. Mum is 92 very soon and has had dementia for several years now. A growing number of people are having to care for relatives with this awful condition. If you haven’t come across dementia yet, let me tell you it can be a really trying task for a carer. Nothing really prepares you for the frustrations of the short-term memory loss and change in personality you will encounter. This isn’t the Mum I grew up with. Believe me, you will need deep resources of patience when you have to answer the same questions over and over again…. in just half an hour. And despite taking them for a lovely car outing, don’t expect them to remember much the following day. For Mum, every day is pretty much a clean slate, she lives in the present and in her memories from 40 or 50 years ago.
It’s very easy to get angry, confrontational and frustrated when you come up against dementia – I know, I’ve been there many times. But it all came to a head last week when Mum said something, it doesn’t really matter what. Like a rag to a bull, I waded in with my rant. I don’t know why I bothered because I knew she wouldn’t remember anything the next day anyway. I got home after dropping her off at her sheltered house and I could feel a tightness in my chest. It was at that point I realised things had to change for me. I was getting stressed out for no real reason.
And that’s my point. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t yet experienced caring for someone with dementia or if you’re in the same boat as me, please take one thing from this piece. Try your utmost not to get worked up, angry or stressed out. Think of your own health and remember, your relative really wouldn’t want you to be suffering on their account. Whenever you feel yourself fit to burst, just stop, turn around, don’t get into an argument, just think of yourself and your health. Put on a smile and calmly deal with the problem. You may be glad you did later.
A final note. I’ve held off pushing the Publish button on this post for a few days now. I’m finding it hard to take my own advice, but I’ll keep trying. I know my health is at stake.
Do you have any thoughts on caring for a relative with dementia? Drop a comment below.