Hannah Davies's look at it my way column: On caring for a loved-one with dementia
We've got a trip to the dentist this week and already I'm planning it
with minute attention to detail. Sitting in a waiting room is tedious for
anyone, but for someone with dementia and no recollection of what they are
waiting for it can be incredibly difficult.
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I'm reminded of taking Dad to the hospital for consultant appointments
which ran hours behind schedule or the nights we spent sitting in A&E. Some
NHS staff seemed to be oblivious to the difficultly faced by a disabled patient
with poor hearing and little interest in whatever the doctor viewed of his
ailing health, to be coupled with a co-carer who lives with Alzheimer's. The
fun we had trying to keep ourselves amused as we sat for hour after hour with
little information and the repeated question "Can we go home now?"
I've learned to manage waiting times as best I can. I call in advance
to confirm that the dentist is running to time or to plan our arrival 10
minutes before Mum will be in the chair, taking time to stop to smell the roses
on our way if we need to slow our journey. I always have a magazine with lots
of pictures in my bag which can fill a short sit in the car. But most
importantly I avoid any rushing around, I've realised that if I'm feeling
pressured then Mum picks up on that and she gets very anxious. Very few things
are worth upsetting Mum, she has enough with which to cope; it's my role to
keep things calm, if I can.