Did you think I’d disappeared? That I was lost, never to return? If you did you weren’t on your own.
Dementia takes away so much but most people assume that what is lost is huge parts of the person living with dementia. Few people realise that it takes the carer too and those of us who take on that role sometimes fear we’re lost forever.
On Wednesday 26th October we moved Ash into a care home and a whole section of our lives moved in with him.
There was a plan (of course there was) and we knew it was coming; the home was the only one of my search that I kept coming back to in my mind. I could picture him there and, in the lead up to the big day, I couldn’t have asked for anywhere better. Could I take in his armchair? Of course I could. Could I put it in the lounge amongst all the matching, wipeable ones? No problem. Could I move in a more comfortable bed? Absolutely. And, most importantly, could I move the room around, put pictures on the walls and lay it out in a way I thought he’d like? I could do all of that and was left to get on with it.
I’ll write about the move in more detail another time but all you need to know for now is that it went more smoothly than I would have thought possible and that he is now happier than he’s been in a very long time. There’s no pressure on him to remember anyone or anything, he’s surrounded by people (not too many though) who have difficulties similar to him and he no longer has daily reminders of who he used to be. He really is living in the moment and in all the photos I’ve seen he’s smiling just like he used to.
As for me, I’ve scooped Max up and headed off to the wilds of Cornwall. We’re in a cosy chalet, the only ones on the site, and currently listening to the rain beating down on the roof. We’ve been for long walks, gazed out to sea and sat in silence. I’ve read books and slept. There’s no WIFI, no mobile signal, no radio and the tv is intermittent which means there’s time for writing or doing nothing at all.
I have no idea when this will get posted as that depends on finding WIFI but I’ll let you know how we get on when I can. Most of all I want you to know, that on current evidence, it seems there is life after dementia and that I wasn’t completely lost, just buried somewhere beneath the surface.