Every day is different in a dementia home, where each resident is living an alternative and often challenging version of reality. Today was lovely with Mum, we did the usual round of meals followed by garden, reading and snoozing, lashings of tea, biscuits and cakes.
But today several of the residents were very off kilter. The care home staff deal with it sweetly, with great patience, but in a matter of fact way. Because I’m regularly here for a few days at a time, the residents get used to me, I know their names and they know I’m neither a resident nor staff, but attachd to Mum and mostly speaking French. So we become a stop on the dementia q an a roundabout. G asks me if the RSPCA are looking for him and will they send dogs. C continues to pick up leaves one by one with a great sense that of urgency and asks me for a black bag. I have an almost normal chat to J, a former concert pianist about her favourite composers. Then twenty minutes later while I’m quietly doing the crossword, she bats the paper out of my hand and says ‘fold it up’ over and over again.
M is always agitated in the pm, wanting to go home, clutching an armful of dolls and pacing up and down. She’s given to sudden bouts of distressed and inconsolable weeping, but will then stand in front of you telling you off in a very strict voice. Today she stands in front of Mum and I brace myself to gently lead her away. Much to Mum’s astonishment, she begins to stroke her cardigan very gently and says ‘ I really do love you, you know.’ Mum looks to me and I just smile.
FIve of us have a game of whacking a balloon across the room as hard as we can, much giggling ensues. Then M picks up the balloon, adds it to the three teddy bears she’s already holding and triumphantly sprints off down the corridor.
I come back to the b and b full of admiration for the staff and emotionally exhausted.