Making decisions

Lovely start to the day with a birthday breakfast for S involving family, friends (isn't it a lovely thing when those two descriptions mean the same) and the nearly 5 year old dressed as Robin Hood.  After breakfast it was into town to buy a new wiper blade for the car and Ash managed to take the old one off and fit the new one which was excellent.  This might seem an insignificant event but I hold my breath each time he attempts something he would have in the past done without thinking and am always relieved when he shows some of his old skills.  Then it was home to see if anyone had looked at yesterday's post on here.  Around 150 people had and some of them might be you in which case I just hope that you accepted the challenge and have had a go.  It's not easy is it?  A friend told me yesterday that following our last conversation on strategies for dealing with dementia she had tried not using questions.  Tried but failed apparently so I thought we might go through a typical start to the day.

How many of you wake in a morning and say to your loved one:

  1. How did you sleep?
  2. Would you like a cup of tea?
  3. Shall I put the radio on?
  4. What are we/you doing today?
and on and on and on.  Our lives revolve around questions, discussions and joint decisions.  Now I've got my mum sorted I'm thinking about booking a holiday.  In the past, however much Ash joked that I organised and he followed, the conversations would actually involve questions like this:
  1. Where do you fancy going?
  2. When?
  3. How long for?
  4. Camping or apartment (for years it was never a hotel and never a package holiday)?
  5. Where shall we fly from?
Now I think about it, plan it, book it, pay for it etc. etc.  and he just comes with me. This is ok because researching and booking holidays are my hobbies but this scenario now applies to every single part of our lives.  Grocery shopping? I decide when, where and what.  Events in the village? I decide yes or no (almost always yes on the basis that we need to do as much as we can while we can).  Birthday/Christmas presents?  I decide what and how much even for the nearly 5 year old.  And then there are the bigger decisions.  Changing mortgage providers, buying a new truck (which involved asking friends to search for an exact replacement as Ash wouldn't be able to cope with anything different), dealing with the GP surgery as they kept phoning to make appointments with him and wondering why he didn't turn up, sorting out Power of Attorney without making him feel completely useless etc. etc.  Every single decision is now mine and can't be shared or even discussed as Ash gets anxious if he thinks that any part of our lives is off its normal track.  And it's not just me.  Every single person whose other half has been diagnosed with dementia is going through this.  We spend our lives sharing decisions, discussing plans, working out finances and all of a sudden we realise it's down to us and then we either put our heads up and shoulders back and get on with it or we fold.  Luckily I'm a great believer in what doesn't break you makes you stronger.  Not everyone can do that however and those that can't need support.  In order to understand even a little of what they/we are going through, if you haven't taken up the challenge yet please try it.  It will at least make you think.