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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 it

with minute attention to detail. Sitting in a waiting room is tedious for

anyone, but for someone with dementia and no recollection of what they are

waiting for it can be incredibly difficult.

I'm reminded of taking Dad to the hospital for consultant appointments

which ran hours behind schedule or the nights we spent sitting in A&E. Some

NHS staff seemed to be oblivious to the difficultly faced by a disabled patient

with poor hearing and little interest in whatever the doctor viewed of his

ailing health, to be coupled with a co-carer who lives with Alzheimer's. The

fun we had trying to keep ourselves amused as we sat for hour after hour with

little information and the repeated question "Can we go home now?"

I've learned to manage waiting times as best I can. I call in advance

to confirm that the dentist is running to time or to plan our arrival 10

minutes before Mum will be in the chair, taking time to stop to smell the roses

on our way if we need to slow our journey. I always have a magazine with lots

of pictures in my bag which can fill a short sit in the car. But most

importantly I avoid any rushing around, I've realised that if I'm feeling

pressured then Mum picks up on that and she gets very anxious. Very few things

are worth upsetting Mum, she has enough with which to cope; it's my role to

keep things calm, if I can.

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