“… They made me feel I no longer belonged in the present, (their present?) …”
Excerpt from FaceBook page of retired Dr Jennifer Bute, at https://www.facebook.com/gloriousopportunity , dated 9 July 2020, but i have added bold font and line breaks for clarity.
I am always grateful for even unpleasant experiences,
which give me greater understanding in order to help others more effectively.
So many living with dementia eventually withdraw from previously enjoyed social activities,
saying, not interested, too busy, can’t, don’t want to.. etc
but perhaps the reason is related to the feeling that they no longer belong.
This week I was involved in a ‘situation’ which involved people who I am sure cared about me but did not know what I previously knew, details of which I had forgotten.
I was not able to explain, assumptions were made (incorrectly) and
I suddenly felt “I don’t want to do this
I don’t want to be here any more”
Now why would I think that?
I am rather obstinate and still try to be as independent as possible with increased staff help and support.
There was no-one in a helping or supporting role for me in the situation,
the others did not live with dementia themselves so it would not have entered their heads.
I thought of how on a previous afternoon I had met a lady with advanced dementia being taken round the grounds in a wheelchair by a carer. I knew her well so socially distanced, greeted her. She did not recognise me …the carer prompted… ‘of course you know Jennifer.’
She just stared blankly at me saying nothing.
I was told she was ‘not doing well in the lockdown’
I mentioned a situation we had been involved in together at Easter and there was a ’flicker’ at the mention of Easter but not at the situation.
The carer implied I was wasting my time…
I continued …reminding her she had been a Sunday school teacher and that these things had been her ‘life’.
She smiled, agreed and
with more affirmations started speaking
.. within a short time she was even explaining things to the amazed carer.
So what has rattled me ? (most unusual ) I think it is that
my past was no longer considered relevant
.. but that is part of who I am….
which anchors me in the restrictions of the present.
They made me feel I no longer belonged in the present, (their present?)
I need to work harder at helping others with dementia who are ‘withdrawing’ to feel that they do still belong!
Excerpted with permission from Jennifer’s FaceBook page at https://www.facebook.com/gloriousopportunity/posts/1493373904196791 , dated 9 July 2020.
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