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Crossing the road

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approaches to dementia care, dementia awareness, dementia tips

When you have difficulties and issues you begin to realise how many times you cross a road.

You know I expected the memory issue with dementia and put up tips and strategies, and people talk about them a lot – in fact all the time. But my senses, my sensory challenges – this is a different matter and they are so scary, especially a normal thing like crossing the road. We cross the road lots of times, we don’t think really think about it – how many times we cross a road in a day. But when you have difficulties and issues you begin to realise how many times you cross a road. And all the times that you have to walk further to try and get a proper crossing to cross the road safely. 

You have to expend an awful lot of energy and it can be quite hard and almost put you off from going out. When you’re crossing the road you tend to use a lot of your senses, we don’t really  think about it: the cars, the environment with the sounds and the noise, you have to use your  eyes to look, to see and then you’ve got to judge how big are the cars – are they coming towards you or are they going away? And then when you look left and right and left again that kind of knocks your balance off, moving your head from side to side and then you jog your memory and you forget; and you’re slower because your judgement is slower. It’s almost sensory overload.  

I’ve been bumped crossing the road a couple of times, I’ve been scared and had near misses. And eventually, I have a low vision officer, she has said to me that I really need assistance when crossing the road. Can you imagine it? Here I am and I have to look about me and ask for assistance to cross the road. People look at me and think – you know I don’t look different, I don’t look as though I’ve got anything wrong with me why does this woman want help crossing the road? I think I was surprised when it first happened to me. I didn’t know why – I’m not a consultant. I did ask the consultant but it was as if he’d never heard me say anything, and I did speak to my CPN (Community Psychiatric Nurse) and she said ‘oh that will be your spatial awareness’, depth perception or something like that, and never went on to explain.

An audio version of this blog is available at: https://soundcloud.com/dementia-diaries/agnes-2-nottingham-uni

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