Foreword by Kirsty: For this post please keep in mind that anything in my wording is in bold. There is a bit of a backstory to this post that I thought might interest some of you. Last night nan kicked off big time, about how I “ride her” and “pick her up on every little thing”. All I did was ask if she’d brushed her teeth, and we had such a lovely day so I had no idea where this was coming from. Then it hit me, nan and I had not been able to do our walks this week due to torrential downpours and so we seem to both be suffering from cabin fever. I wanted to get nan’s opinion on this, but she had forgotten the “argument” by the time she woke up. Today I went to archery, and nan went out for a drive with her daughter. They picked us up some coffee and cake and we had a lovely afternoon. Both feeling much chirpier and prattling on to each other about nothing – the best sort of afternoon.
This post is once again in the form of an interview, and as nan is knackered I wrote down her answers (word for word – I think it is important that if I am going to log her thoughts they should be exactly that, not my interpretation of them) to type up. I have a new found respect for *some* journalists, asking questions without giving away what you want the answer to be is surprisingly difficult.
Did you enjoy your drive today? I did enjoy my drive today, very much. What did you see? I remember seeing all the countryside, which was the nice part. Who was with you? If I could think of her name it would help. Oh God what’s the matter with me? Ridiculous. Can’t remember her name, don’t believe it. Kirsty, Kirsty. Well, I’ve got a blank at the moment. Was I there? No, I think you went somewhere else. Was (my mum) there? She took us out in the car. And erm, I can’t remember if Emily was with me.
What did you do after the drive? I think we went to some shops. We walked around but I can’t remember the name of the place. Did you bring anything home? Must have done, we did stop at some shops but I can’t remember. Did you have anything to eat or drink? I can’t remember. What about a red paper cup? That’s what we had our tea in! I didn’t have tea, I had a coffee (It was a special coffee, what was the name?) Is it a cappuccino? (YES :)!) I haven’t had many capuccinos, it was nice. I enjoyed it.
How do you feel now you’ve been out?
I enjoyed it. It was lovely. (Good, has it changed your mood?) Oh yes. Definitely. (In what way?) Well you sort of feel happy, sounds silly I know but it’s so nice to get out and be with the family. Have you not been happy? Oh yes, it’s not that I’ve been down, but when you go out like that, it’s extra special. Have you felt trapped inside with the rain? Oh yes, we couldn’t go out. It wasn’t nice at all. (How does that feeling affect your mood?) Not too bad I suppose. I vary. I like to go out even if it’s just for a walk like you take me. Just feel sort of, if you can’t get out, you feel a bit, you look forward to going out. It’s just a break.
Do you think that not getting out can cause arguments? I can imagine people would feel fed up that they can’t get out. You must get on each others nerves at some point. I don’t know, but I don’t think so. Do you feel exercise, walking, going for a drive, is beneficial to people especially those with dementia? Yes, I would say so, coz it’s nice to get out. If you just go for a walk even, it’s fresh air. A bit of exercise, you don’t want to be indoors all the time do you? (Here I tried asking nan what she think would contribute to us arguing, but she doesn’t think it’s ever happened so she can’t imagine. So I asked her if she was looking after someone, what would they need to keep them happy and stop them becoming cross and argumentative. I think her first answer sums up why Nanny Jean needs to be president of the world) Cuddles, if they don’t get cuddles they will be miserable. They need feeding. And if they want to do something you don’t want them to it will cause arguments. (My thoughts here are influence by things I’ve noticed have triggered nan’s foul moments; cold, hungry, thirsty, tired, confused – when she tries to turn the telly on for example and can’t work it out she gets frustrated with herself, but it ends up on me, feeling a loss of independence, trapped in the house – cabin fever, the dementia can cause mood swings for no apparent reason, underlying illness e.g. UTI, feeling pressurised – when people come in and ask her thousands of questions she can end up feeling grumpy).
Do you think carers and carees need time away from each other? Yes, I suppose so. Well different people have different ways so I can’t really say people should do this or do that, because everyone is different. You know what I mean? But of course they do, it’s a natural thing that people get on your nerves (Nan started laughing quite hard here, I’m starting to think I’m getting on her nerves :O)
For me a good caring relationship needs three things for both parties: sleep. Time apart. And time outside of the usual four walls (I know due to mobility this can’t always happen but I have been thinking about those beach sounds and maybe meditation, placing thoughts of an idyll to wrap nan up with on a rainy day? Any thoughts?) Of course everyone IS different, and this should be celebrated, so please let us know what YOU think a good/healthy caring relationship needs.
Lots of love from both of us, we are so grateful that people read this.
(((I’ve noticed that if nan is giving an answer where she is unsure what my thoughts are, she won’t use the “I” pronoun, it changes to “you” or “they”. ))))
JOIN US BOTH ON THURSDAY FOR #DIVERSEALZ WHERE WE ARE GUESTS CHATTING ABOUT LEGACY. THURSDAY 8PM GMT.