Nursing Home

By Nick Gilmore

Published: 10 May, 2024

Friday

I got to experience extreme Peak Active Mum today. Her response to me saying “Hello Mum! It’s Nicholas” was to hand me the corner of her blanket and try to sit up.

This was established long ago as code for “Here. Take this. We’re leaving!”. It didn’t strike me as a little odd until I’d been there a while because it didn’t seem that she knew who I was and yet she was still convinced she was leaving with me.

Pulling and kicking her blankets off was a constant theme throughout the visit. I could hardly re-rearrange her bed fast enough. If the weather had been warmer I might have left it. I was beginning to worry that by changing what she was doing I was challenging her reality and that that might distress her. But her removing her bedding was making her cold and I didn’t want that either. Everything I’ve read about dealing with someone’s dementia told me that the sufferer’s reality shouldn’t be challenged unless their personal well-being is clearly at risk. So I kept at it.

Mum was very chatty and far more distinct than usual. In spite of being able to hear what Mum was saying I still couldn’t understand much.

Mum had lots of Other People with her today and all of her conversation was with them. She didn’t mention any of them by name and it didn’t sound like any of them were familiar to her. There were no anecdotes or anything of any consequence really. Just a constant swirl of people moving round her. She seemed happy enough with that though.

It became clear that all these Other People were leaving with us. As usual, I took the opportunity to tell her that if I was driving all these people home I would have to go and put some petrol in the car first.

On my way out I spoke to Sean and told him that with all the kicking-off of blankets Mum was at risk of getting cold so would need more checks than normal. He got a light duvet from the store and took it to her immediately.

As he covered her up, Mum relaxed instantly, said “Thank-you very much” and gave him a huge smile.

That was more than I got during the entire visit.

Author’s Note

My Mum is in a nursing home in a small village in the Thames Valley. The photo is not of the home. I used an AI image generator to give the reader some idea of the home she’s in.

All, some or maybe even none (you’ll never know!) of the names have been changed to protect privacy and hide real identities. If you think you recognise someone then let me know and I’ll edit the post or remove it entirely

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