A little like a busman's holiday
I used to work in childcare. In fact over the last 25 years I have managed three completely different types of nursery with the last being all consuming for a variety of reasons. Now you may wonder what childcare has to do with dementia (although those of you connected with either may see similarities already) but I have remembered the staff meetings held at the most recent of those three and how useful they were. Each month on the agenda would be a list of children who needed support. Perhaps they had just joined us, maybe there were difficulties at home, possibly there had been a transition period in the nursery itself, whatever the reason we would look at what was happening, where help was needed and, most importantly, what changes we, the grown-ups, needed to make. The list would be different at each meeting as children responded to the changes and those that benefited were moved off the list. Where our changes hadn't made a difference we discussed why not and looked at what else we could do. On top of all that we observed all of the children throughout each day to see what help they needed, whether we should make changes to their surroundings or where we could help with their knowledge and understanding. These strategies worked so well that the children were confident, talkative, creative and happy. Problems with behaviour were rare and staff enjoyed what they did. Thinking about all of this made me realise that I am trying to reproduce all of that at home. Obviously there are no staff meetings and no team to tell me when I've got it wrong but I watch and try to learn. This strategy gives me early warning signs that changes may need to be made and keeps me at least one step ahead of the game when it comes to adapting our lives to what Ash needs. This summer is turning out to be one of the best we've had in years and I'm sure that's the reason. Instead of railing against what life has thrown at us and waiting to see what happens next which would be much easier in the short term I feel just a little in control of what's happening to us and that helps.