By My Dad…..
On a Tuesady morning there is a dance and movement session for an hour in the care home. I go in and help Jane with participating and I and the staff feels she benefits greatly from this.
We have a little “dance” to the music 1/2 way through, which I think she enjoys. I have an old (maybe 4 years or so) i-pad video which I took when she used to give me a free hours’ tuition on a Sunday in one of the halls in Biggar. It shows her – as man – dancing various steps and figures beautifully around the floor several times. Since coming back up to Scotland we have been going to weekly dancing social evenings in Edinburgh and meeting a few couples she taught over 40 years ago. I needed a fair amount of professional help to get me up to scratch !
She was a wonderful dancer and teacher and even taught and choreographed a Viennese Waltz for still very good friends in a Come Dancing BBC episode in 1971, I believe. She has lost most of what she used to know; not only whether it’s a heel or a toe or a quick or a slow or all the combination of steps in the various dances.
These little sparks of life such as a smile whilst we try to create a semblance of a jive as we did several days ago, or an expression of delight for a fleeting moment when she sees me or the dog walking up to her as she sits in her chair, make my day. Over the last 2 months or so, since moving in to her “new home” it has been very hard and difficult for the whole family and of course devastating for her. New surroundings, new bedroom, much older people slowly and ever so slowly “shuffling” around and lots of carers and nurses to help with all her needs.
She is sleepy with her medication, she doesn’t really understand or comprehend what you are saying to her and responds with what she believes is quite sensible but in reality it seems quite perplexing and nonsensical. However, she is safe, warm well fed and stimulated (to a degree). She is not terribly interested in going through her photograph albums or listening to her favourite CDs, nor watching television.
I try to take her out when the weather is nice and pop in most days. All the other residents and staff love Maggie. I don’t get a look in!
Life at home is strange. Cooking for one, cleaning kitchens, bathrooms, windows and the car – the list is endless ! Thank goodness I can relax and play golf and take Maggie out for 2 hours a day. Nights are drawing in and there is sometimes little else to do but read a good book and sip a gin and tonic.
Dementia is, I think worse than many other chronic diseases. There is no cure and deterioration is inevitable. It is a constant concern and worry to all family and friends to a great degree and our lives are changed for ever.
I’m off to St. Andrews tomorrow to stay the night with my sister and husband and play golf with my two brothers on Saturday. This will be a great change and a time to relax. I know Jane will be looked after and when I visit again, unfortunately she will not know I had not been there holding her hand the day or even the hour before.
“Now stand up tall, keep your head to the left, relax, listen and dance just behind the music, use your body, keep in contact and don’t stand on my toes!”
I love and miss you, dear.