Friday, 14 April 2017

"Bathing her eyes" v Dementia

For the last seven years I have been travelling up north to visit my Mum who has dementia. 

In that time I have seen both rapid and slow deterioration of her condition and the consequences for her well being. 

I am no expert, I've worked as a care worker with people with dementia, but I've noticed some reactions which for me have given me ideas as to how to interact with my mum. 

The term "bathing" came to me whilst we were out on one of our many excursions in the car. My mum would often make comments about the trees, how big they are. It made me wonder what was going on in her mind as this was something new. My guess was sensory stimulation, if she is not seeing much because she is no longer out and about, the scenery must be stimulating and perhaps triggering memories, that have been hidden by the cruelty of dementia? 

Perhaps it's nonsense but I decided to go for it. 

We go on lots of excursions, we sing and I point out the scenery which always leads to her making a comment. I may be daft, but for me it means there is still part of my mum who can still engage and respond to the world around her. 

Shopping, is another activity which she was more than familiar. We now spend our time together wandering through supermarkets or shopping centres looking at lots of different items. I swear I can see the cogs in her brain working, and again it prompts a conversation about what see is seeing. 

It is this that a refer to "bathing her eyes", and for as long as I am able, I will continue to provide as much sensory stimulation as I can on my visits. 

I've always had a good laugh with my mum and enjoyed making her laugh as does my brother. 

If each time I visit her, I am still able to make her smile and laugh, then the hundreds and thousands of miles I have been travelled will be truly worth it. 

Next time I want to talk about music and dance. 

Thanks for reading my thoughts and solidarity to all those caring for someone in your life. 

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