Carers Group: 14/02/22

Valentine’s Day

Introduction

Janet’s introduction was in response to the increasing numbers in the group and the limited time for discussion. In future, at the beginning of the meeting, Janet will ask if anyone has anything specific to bring up, or has any questions. These items will be discussed, then she will go round for updates. If time runs out Janet will make a list for next time.

What I wish people knew about dementia

Janet talked about Wendy Mitchell‘s second book following on from ‘Somebody I used to know’.

  • In the introduction she talks about how dementia affects the senses, emotions and communication.
  • When planning meals she says it is important to consider the temperature of food, hot meals can be difficult and challenging.
  • Chewing food becomes laborious and some one with dementia may forget to chew enough.
  • Using a knife and fork – two motor skills at a time become hard.
  • Losing sense of taste.
  • Eating the same meals over and over again – you may not remember what to have eaten but you may remember what you like.
  • These things can be difficult for those who don’t have dementia and the carers – try not to take it personally.

The group discussed their experiences:

One lady eats food that has gone-off, soft foods in general and raw potato, chillies, whole lemons and oranges. Her husband wondered if she enjoyed the texture. Janet suggested that carers need to become become detectives. Sometimes things work and sometimes they don’t. It’s important to get them to eat something nutritious and a variety of foods is important. Janet added that in working out ways to succeed you have to be canny and clever.

Another carer has been buying meals for his sister from Tesco, which she now gone off. So, he got M&S meals. She says rice makes her choke and she will only drink almond milk now. She is losing her sense of taste and is becoming very faddy. She also has a ‘thing’ about germs. Janet added that the book said the china that is being used can make a difference. The colour of plates is important – mashed potatoes on white plates are tricky, there needs to be a contrast between the food and the plate. 

A wife said that her husband enjoys his foods and eats obsessively. Even if he’s had a meal he will go and make a sandwich. He did have a choking incident in which she had to put her finger down his throat to release the piece of meat. She tried chopping up his food but he hated that so she has stopped doing it.

Cruising

Following up on a previous discussion on a husband’s love of going on cruises: Janet had suggested the wife contact SAGA to discuss how they could help. They had a wonderful response back and have been invited to go on one of their ships for a tour and lunch, possibly in the summer. The husband’s face had lit up and it was a joyous moment. Hopefully, it will be in July when they celebrate their silver wedding anniversary.

Mobility

A wife spoke about her husband’s mobility. He is eager to dance or hold on to each other at Reflections. He has an air of helplessness even when sitting down. Recently when she was out he went on a bus – no stick, and went to the shop. She wondered – should she let him go out by himself? Is she being over protective? He has started a mobility class (a group of 3). Maybe this will help. Janet suggested maybe the wife could take her trolley and go with him or discreetly follow!

Issues

A sister wants to change the her doctor’s practice. She had seen a locum, who need to have a prescription counter signed, so went out of the room. She got it in her head that all the doctors leave her alone in the room. Her family have managed to get that all sorted out. The sister wants to maintain her independence, but this puts strain on her family: she visits on the wrong day; she had an argument in a shop over a cash/debit card; and she loses or forgets passwords.

Her sister-in-law said they are asking for her to have a referral to the Memory Clinic. She is not getting up until midday, then taking her medication all at the same time. She doesn’t recognise the time or remember the day of the week. She feels she ruder: she says what she thinks – her filter isn’t working properly. She says she gets memory fog and she is aware she’s not right. These are things she will be able to talk about this when she has her review.

Question

We had a question sent in by a carer who could not attend this evening. She is going away with her sons in March and is finding it difficult to find help for her mum. She thinks it’s best to keep her mum at home and have someone to supervise. A carer suggested Bluebird Bexley agency. He will send some links. He said it’s more about the people who work for them not the agency. He was fortunate to find the right person for his wife. Janet- suggested the Miss Mardle agency.

Reflection piece

Gyda read – “Our lives are full of fragments“.

Next meeting 21st March 2022.

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