I was talking to Nancy yesterday over a cup of coffee. I am her Power of Attourney and although she needs some support, she is living independently with the help of friends and neighbours. Nancy has Vascular Dementia and recognises one of her symptoms; memory loss.
“I feel sometimes that I am losing me,” she stated.
“Its like a fog comes over the top part of my head. But I still want to be in control of my life. People come in and try to help but sometimes I feel like a child. I might forget where I put the milk but I can still make important decisions, like shopping for groceries and paying my bills…..It’s a bit like owning a car.” She said.
I was puzzled.” What do you mean?”
“Well,” she explained, “All my life I had been in the driving seat. Sure of my journey, changing gear whenever I met a bend. But now I have been delegated to the back. As a child I always got car sick sitting in the back seat and hated not being able to see where we were going. I know that I am not capable of driving now, but I want to sit in the passenger seat, sharing the journey. I don’t want to get in that back seat. ”
I knew exactly what she meant.
“Let’s talk to the neighbours together,” I suggested,” This can be a difficult journey for us all and as carers we might need some Learner Plates! But it’s important that you are in the driving seat.”
We must never assume that people with dementia can’t make decisions themselves. They should be given all possible support to make their own decisions. We just need to think about the best time, the best person to help to explain things, and the best way to talk about the decision.
Memory Matters provide interactive, immersive training delivered by our team of talented trainers. Our team are passionate about helping communities to understand how they can best support people living with dementia and we do this through consistently checking we have it right by people living with dementia who we work with day in day out.
Keep abreast of all our training courses in 2018 by visiting our training page.
If you think we can help you’re organisation contact us.