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Getting younger by the day

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carers

Many of us might dream of a magic potion which would enable us to slough off a great chunk of years, maybe even return us to our youth.

Don't worry! If you have the misfortune to suffer memory loss, confusion, dementia, it will happen. I promise you, it will!

Take my husband for example, he is in his eighties, but he is frequently spoken to as though he were a four year old. Always in the sing song voice. That is de rigeur.

“is she looking after you?”, “have you got something nice for your dinner?”  “Have you had a nice sleep?” “You do look nice and snug in your bed”

I don't know many more stock phrases, because I always have to walk away before I do or say something horrible to someone who is just trying to be kind.

Misguided maybe, but I remind myself that at least they are here, rather than, with the majority,  staying away from a situation which they find hard to handle.

Can anyone suggest a way I can help them, without jeopardising a friendship?

Although I can forgive lay people, I find it inexcusable that this baby talk is often used by people 'in the profession', as it were. It can in fact be very dangerous, as I will illustrate with a true story.

A friend of a friend, a highly intellectual, professional lady, suffered a stroke.

There was a partial recovery, but she was still very unstable in her walking. Her speech was slurred and thus she had some difficulty expressing herself, but fortunately, her brilliant brain was unaffected.

Being fiercely independent, this lady was determined to stay in her own home. This was made possible by the fact that her daughter live closed by, and was able to call in on her way to and from work, so that she could ensure that her mother had coped with dressing, drugs and feeding in the morning, and that she had all the essentials at hand for lunch etc., until she returned to help her with preparing an evening meal and to settle her down for the night.

The daughter then had to travel abroad for ten days, on an important business assignment. She was  most anxious about leaving her mother, and contacted the GP who agreed that it was too dangerous to leave her alone, and that she must have residential care for the duration of the daughter's absence.

Money was not an issue, so a place was booked at a mostprestigious and luxurious home, with manicured grounds, spa, the works. Mother was reluctant, but agree to go. However, she was very upset by the patronising manner of many of the staff. The crunch, the last straw,  came on day two, when a care assistant,who surely should know better, said “Why don’t we turn your chair round so that you can see the pretty flowers in the garden, and watch the dickie birds

The lady phoned for a taxi, and discharged herself. She arrived home, and had a fall...

This true story could have ended in a tragedy, had not an eagle eyed neighbour, who had been told the house would be empty, spotted a light on and called the police, who broke in.

A cautionary tale.

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