– Living with dementia – Tales from Rivermead.

People living with dementia often move into a care home as the disease progresses and Mum moved to Rivermead care home in December 2013, following a short stay in hospital. Our story includes more of our families journey.

Before the move we were really anxious as Mum had been adamant that she didn’t want to go into a home but to our surprise she settled really well and to some degree we got our old Mum back (one who wasn’t constantly anxious).

Rivermead was an ideal setting for Mum because the layout was similar to a school and Mum often talked as though she was at work (she had been a teacher). The home also had lots of room to walk about, had a secure central garden area and an open bedroom door policy.

Living with dementia
Secure central garden area at Rivermead Care Home.

Mum was at Rivermead a little over 3 years and I have some lovely memories of the time she spent there. Mum was always a ‘good sport’ and throughout her illness she used to keep us amused with her sense of humour, below are a few stories from her time at Rivermead.

Haircut 100.

As Mum’s illness progressed, it became more and more difficult to get Mum to the hairdressers. She became reluctant to have her hair washed and would get distracted and fidget, never keeping her head still. However, if you could catch her in the right mood, she was still a good sport.

Bathing and personal hygiene with dementia
Rebel without a clue!!!

Rabbit … Rabbit.

I remember one day when I arrived, Mum was having a lie down on her bed and below was the scene in the bathroom. Although I almost dare not ask we had the following conversation:

Me – “Mum, what is this rabbit doing in your bathroom?”

Mum – “Where?”

Me – “On the toilet”

Mum – “Probably having a wee then!”

Of course, silly me!!!!!!

Tips on living with dementia
Obviously having a wee!!!

Who turned the lights off?

One day Mum and I decided to go for a coffee in the local café. We got into the car and I was distracted by my phone when Mum suddenly asked “why is it so dark?”

Erm probably because you have a tissue down the front of your glasses!!!. I don’t know what possessed Mum to do this but I had to laugh, although Mum wasn’t amused.

Caring for someone living with dementia
Who turned the lights off!!

It definitely wasn’t me!!

There was a reception area at Rivermead, where you could go and have a coffee and a cake, which we used to do often. Once I had got us both a coffee and a cake, when I nipped to the loo. When I got back Mum had demolished her cake and had started on mine. She was outraged when I suggested that she was eating my cake!!!!

Living with a person with dementia
This is definitely my cake!!

What do you mean the wrong way round?

Once when I visited Mum she had her cardigan on back to front. Initially Mum didn’t seem to notice so I didn’t say anything to her. However when we sat down for a coffee, the cardigan kept dropping down and Mum couldn’t work out how to stop it, so I casually mentioned it was the wrong way round.

“What do you mean the wrong way round” she said indignantly. “It’s back to front” I replied. She thought about this for a moment and then said “your doolally” and went back to drinking her juice.

Who said it should fasten at the front anyway!!!!!

People living with dementia
What do you mean the wrong way round?

Flood Alert!

Many of the doors at Rivermead were locked, to stop residents from leaving safe and secure areas. Some of these doors had murals on them, to disguise the fact that they were doors, to stop residents from becoming frustrated when they couldn’t open them.

Push button keypads opened the doors, and one day Mum and I were strolling round when I went to open this door and Mum shouted “STOP”. When I enquired what the problem was she said “you will flood the place”!!!

It’s a funny thing the brain!!!!!!

Dementia and wandering
What we never understood … We were holding back the flood!!!

Same Destination … Different Journey.

Mum’s illness and subsequent death had a profound impact on my life. to help me cope with my grief I wrote a book of our journey with Mum through her illness and the impact it had on our family. The book also includes all the key information that you will need if you or a loved one is affected by dementia with Lewy bodies.

4 thoughts on “– Living with dementia – Tales from Rivermead.

  1. Emma- Loved reading your stories! Although, I can’t think of them right now- we had laughs with my Dad & used humor during this dreadful disease. My Dad was on a locked unit in The States- I love the idea of having murals on the doors!
    My Dad passed after 3 1/2 yrs at facility too. I applaud you for helping other families deal with this disease. I, too, find it very therapeutic to set up the Lewy Body FB Group- in memory of my Dad- to support others as they walk this journey.
    God Bless you for all this info! You are making a difference!

    1. Hi Maureen, sorry to hear about your Dad.
      I am glad you enjoyed the website and found it useful.
      Lewy body dementia is a truly awful disease and not generally known about so the more of us raising awareness the better!!!

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