Settling In – Time to Reflect

Reflecting on Dad’s Move: 

Its been four months since my dad moved into his new apartment, an independent living/extra care development, as described in my recent post.

The settling in period has been filled with anxiety, uncertainty and confusion, which has been upsetting at times, to say the least!

Dementia. . This has been the biggest cause of anxiety as my dad has not fully come to terms with this move and I wonder if he ever will. . .

Dad has good days when he talks about how lucky he feels to have been selected for a new apartment (being 1 of over 800 people who registered their interest and only 57 properties were available) However, there have been bad days when my dad has become confused about where he is, wanting to know when he’s going home.  Sometimes he’ll look around and comment on how nice it is, but then say, “it’s not my home though” even when I point out all his familiar furniture and family pictures, I can see him trying to recognise them in his own way.

I knew it was important to make sure dad’s new place was kept as familiar as possible, setting out the lounge and the bedroom as it was in his previous home.  He had the same bed, wardrobes and accessories in the same position in the bedroom, his lounge was set out as close as possible to what he was used to, with the armchairs and furniture in similar positions, hanging family pictures and placing lamps in similar places to his last home. As much as I have tried to keep dads place familiar with his belongings around him, sometimes it doesn’t seem to be enough.

It’s important for people with dementia to feel safe and secure and I wanted this to be the case with my dad. I want him to be happy here.


Image shared by The Dawn Method thedawnmethod.com 

spend a lot of time worrying about my dad, worrying about this move, worrying about the impact it has had on my dad.

  • Was it the right move?
  • Is dad happy?
  • Does dad understand where he is?

I know deep down that dad is a lot safer here, as he had started to struggle getting up and down the stairs in his previous home and he wasn’t a good candidate for a stairlift (after assessment) due to the dementia, but this is such a big change for a man who had been so independent and had never relied on anyone for anything.

He was the head of our family, he was the one we all went to for advice, he had all the answers, he was always there for us.

Now as a family we have to be there for him

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Progress – Positive Reactions

Its good to see a positive reaction to the long awaited therapy group:

In a recent post in October I  wrote about my disappointment of the cancellation of a much awaited ‘Speech & Language Therapy Group’ which my dad had been assigned to in August.  After just 2 weeks on the programme my dad had been informed of the lack of available staff to continue the programme, which had to be cancelled and would be rearranged for October.

Although this did not happen in October, I am pleased to report the programme has now been rearranged and my dad has just completed his 2nd week of group therapy.

These sessions take place at a local GP surgery not far from my dads home, I usually drop him off at 2pm and pick him up at 4pm.  After his 1st session, dad seemed very positive about the group therapy and seemed to have enjoyed meeting other people who have the same problems he has been experiencing due to ‘Parkinsons’

I was really happy that my dad was back on the programme and this time the group seemed to have a lot more people in attendance.

This week when I dropped my dad off at the session I was happy to see him greet the other members of the group with plenty of humour and he seemed happy to see them, this was positive for me especially as I could see a little bit of mischief about him (something I have not seen fo a while)  however, when I was about to leave, letting dad know I would be there at 4pm to pick him up, a lovely elderly lady who was sitting quietly opposite the group spoke to me about dads singing? I approached her, as she was speaking very quietly and I didn’t quite hear what she had said. To my surprise, she told me that she hoped she could hear my dad’s singing soon, I asked her if my dad had been telling the group about his singing with the ‘Irish Guards Choir’ and to my surprise she explained he had been telling the group all about his 12 years singing with the choir, as well as his hopes to join them again one day.

This made me really happy as I had asked my dad if he had participated in the last group discussions and asked if he had spoken about anything of himself in the last session, but he didn’t seem to remember this.  I guess the little short-term memory loss can have that effect on him sometimes and it’s easy for him to forget things while trying to remember other things, such as his fact sheets and his homework (voice excercises)

On my return to pick dad up from his session I noticed how in tune he was with everything going on, it was lovely to see him chatting with other people and looking forward to seeing them the following week, dad even had a plan of action as he greeted me, he suggested we find out if the Irish guards choir would be performing any ‘Christmas Carol Concerts’ and wondering if he may be able to join them!

This was music to my ears, as dad had not showed any interest in joining the choir since his last visit to their practice session last Year.

This was a good day, a day when dad had planned something, a day that I was happy to support an idea and look into making this happen for him (that’s my plan of action for next week)

It would be so lovely to see my dad dress up in his uniform again and attend a carol concert at this special time of the year, I do hope I can make that happen.

Over the last 2 days I have seen such a positive mood in my dad, he has been chatting more, joining in with family conversations, even joking and tormenting his grandson, like he always used to do.  It’s all positive this week, what a difference a few sessions of group therapy can do to lift a persons mood.  I hope this continues, but on the other hand I really wish these sessions had gone ahead when dad was first diagnosed with ‘Parkinsons’ a year ago as everything I have read about, all points to the importance of early therapy sessions to help with the symptoms.

These pathways should be in place for all ‘Parkinsons’ patients and they should not have to wait over a year for these to be put in place, as early treatment or therapy helps with the problems they face and can help them in various ways.

 

Take Time To Admire Nature – It’s Good For Your Wellbeing!

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A Walk In The Park:

I took some time for me today, some time to watch the park at play.

Nature at its very best, an array of colours had come to rest.

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I took some time to stand and stare, stunning colours everywhere.

Autumn winds had done their duty, bathing the park in all its beauty.

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I took some time to ease my mind, capturing my thoughts inside.

Nature brings out the best in me, a relaxing positivity.

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I took some time to reflect on me, realising I’m where I need to be.

Nature changes with the seasons, without asking for the reasons.