Going forwards – with love

June 23, 2007

I visited my dear old mum today in the dementia unit of the nursing home where she has lived for the past three years. Mum is wheelchair bound due to degenerative disease… and time. Disease and dementia have robbed her of so many of her abilities but she is still a person with her own particular physical and emotional needs. Alzheimer’s disease is very hard to accept. My Mum is no longer the parent I once knew – she has to depend on others to reassure her when she is confused, or frustrated, or feeling lost – she has to learn to accept that other people must take care of all the things she now finds so difficult to manage. The staff of the dementia unit have to shower her, dress her, change her, encourage her and endure her angry outbursts and yet they still tuck her into bed with a teddy and a loving hug. I find it hugely rewarding to know that while she may not always recognise me, she can still feel my love. I spotted the following words mounted on the wall at the nurses station today which really said it all…

People with dementia are not going backwards, they are not going round in circles. They are going forwards, on a journey many of us will have to go on but none of us want to make. They carry their childhood with them, as they do all the ages of their lives. We shall care best, and be cared for best, if we accept the child in all of us but never forget we have grown into adults.

Love you Mum