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Hannah Davies's look at it my way column: On caring for a loved-one with dementia

By HannahDavies  |  Posted: February 27, 2013

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We've got a trip to the dentist this week and already I'm planning itwith minute attention to detail. Sitting in a waiting room is tedious foranyone, but for someone with dementia and no recollection of what they arewaiting for it can be incredibly difficult.

I'm reminded of taking Dad to the hospital for consultant appointmentswhich ran hours behind schedule or the nights we spent sitting in A&E. SomeNHS staff seemed to be oblivious to the difficultly faced by a disabled patientwith poor hearing and little interest in whatever the doctor viewed of hisailing health, to be coupled with a co-carer who lives with Alzheimer's. Thefun we had trying to keep ourselves amused as we sat for hour after hour withlittle information and the repeated question "Can we go home now?"

I've learned to manage waiting times as best I can. I call in advanceto confirm that the dentist is running to time or to plan our arrival 10minutes before Mum will be in the chair, taking time to stop to smell the roseson our way if we need to slow our journey. I always have a magazine with lotsof pictures in my bag which can fill a short sit in the car. But mostimportantly I avoid any rushing around, I've realised that if I'm feelingpressured then Mum picks up on that and she gets very anxious. Very few thingsare worth upsetting Mum, she has enough with which to cope; it's my role tokeep things calm, if I can.

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