“So who am I now?”

A very very cruel disease for anyone who is affected by it, whether it be the person who has it, or their loved ones.


Dementia is cruel. It robs the individual of themselves, slowly, gradually. Their memories, their roles, their skills. Their ability to remember the name of the person or people closest to them. Their relationship to those people. Sometimes, they can become so distressed by this that they no longer feel safe with their loved ones, leading to them to display hostile behaviours in a bid to keep themselves safe – if there was a man you didn’t recognise in your bed, wouldn’t you want him out? Wouldn’t you hit out, shout, scream? Call the police?

As a health professional working with such situations, I have explained this many times to many families, in terms of the impact to the person with dementia. Having read other blogs by those caring for loved ones with dementia who no longer recognise them, I realise that we don’t often put emphasis on the family member…

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This entry was posted on August 7, 2016. 2 Comments

12 Helpful Hints

Some good information here.

Let's Talk about Dementia

Communicating with someone who has dementia


What can someone with dementia feel?

Imagine if you were to lose the ability to say the right word or understand what was being said, eg when on holiday in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language. You may feel frustrated, angry and look for help, perhaps to someone to interpret for you. You might respond by not speaking at all and withdrawing into yourself of avoiding situations where you have to communicate with people.

Here are 12 Helpful Hints for communicating with someone living with dementia.

  1. Be calm and patient.
  2. Face the person, speak clearly and slowly.
  3. Make sure that you have their attention by gently touching their arm and saying their name.
  4. Use short, simple sentences and say exactly what you mean.
  5. Try to get one idea across at a time.
  6. Allow plenty of time for the person to take…

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This entry was posted on May 20, 2016. 4 Comments

A Comparison of Photos

Your eyes stare into space
I try to search deep into your soul
To find the man I once knew
But he is not there.
The emptiness goes beyond compare
Where are you..?  I ask.
Where have you gone..?
Speak to me …
I love you still
I want you back

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Many of you will know that Steve is now in permanent care at a lovely facility called Linsell Lodge, which is run by the Salvation Army.  He has been there since 8th March this year; he was in respite from the beginning of February at another facility who unfortunately couldn’t take him on as a permanent resident.

I’m not entirely sure whether Steve has settled yet – he is calmer than he was, as he was showing aggression towards some of the staff, and consequently he had to be medicated, which was upsetting to see him so sleepy all the time.

These photos below show what this horrible disease is doing to my beloved husband, and Pamsie and Andrew’s adored dad.

Taken at Grange Jetty – August 2015

Taken at Grange Jetty – August 2015

These photos were taken in November 2015

These photos were taken in November 2015

These photos were taken in November 2015

These photos were taken in November 2015

A now-treasured photo as it was taken at the last dance we went to together – the New Year’s Eve Ball 2015/16 (he struggled a lot with the steps that night)

A now-treasured photo as it was taken at the last dance we went to together – the New Year’s Eve Ball 2015/16 (he struggled a lot with the steps that night)

While he was at Pennwood - 8 Feb – yes, his beard was shaved off!

While he was at Pennwood –
8 Feb – yes, his beard was shaved off!

During the first week at Linsell Lodge – 15 March

During the first week at Linsell Lodge – 15 March

Looking good on 27 March in the garden at Linsell Lodge

Looking good on 27 March in the garden at Linsell Lodge

With his daughter Pamsie – they managed to get a smile out of him – on 8 April

With his daughter Pamsie – they managed to get a smile out of him – on 8 April

With his son Andrew – they managed to get a smile out of him – on 8 April

With his son Andrew – they managed to get a smile out of him – on 8 April

These two photos were taken a few days after his kids saw him – 11 April – he was really sleepy – as you can see

These two photos were taken a few days after his kids saw him – 11 April – he was really sleepy – as you can see

These two photos were taken a few days after his kids saw him – 11 April – he was really sleepy – as you can see

These two photos were taken a few days after his kids saw him – 11 April – he was really sleepy – as you can see

Looking much better and more “with it” in his “new” second hand $10 recliner, which his son found! - 13 April

Looking much better and more “with it” in his “new” second hand $10 recliner, which his son found! – 13 April

Looking much better and more “with it” in his “new” second hand $10 recliner, which his son found! - 13 April

Looking much better and more “with it” in his “new” second hand $10 recliner, which his son found! – 13 April

Asleep in the chair – 22 April

Asleep in the chair –
22 April

Taken on Anzac Day – 25 April

Taken on Anzac Day – 25 April

Taken on Anzac Day – 25 April

Taken on Anzac Day – 25 April

It has been a matter of months – eight to be precise – to see him change so drastically.  It has completely ravaged him.   It is devastating and heart-breaking to watch this fit, healthy, vibrant, fun-loving, cheeky man develop into a shell of his former self.  I struggle with the daily difference, as do Pamsie and Andrew.

You will notice that he has lost quite a bit of weight – he used to weigh 73 kg about 18 months ago.  He currently weights around 66.5 kg.  I hope he doesn’t lose too much more.  This could be due to his medication, the fact that he’s not eating as much as he used to or that he’s getting up in the middle of the meals and leaving the dining room, or just a general decline.  The dietician will be monitoring this and trying other foods and protein drinks – it’s a case of try it to see if he likes it.

He is declining far faster than we thought he would.  Life is just so not fair sometimes.


Forget-Me-Not   original pattern 2

Introducing my book

Creating life with words: Inspiration, love and truth

Slide4I have made a voice recording to introduce my book for it’s release today, and have added the file and the notes here.

Hi this is Kate Swaffer from Adelaide in Australia here, speaking to you on the day my first dementia book comes out. Although I’ve not yet seen a physical copy of it, I obviously know what’s in it, although it was written over a year ago, so perhaps I may even have changed my mind on some things! You might wonder why someone with dementia would even want to write a book, for the most part, our experience and stories have been told by people with out dementia, and so it felt important to speak up. That is also part of the reason I started blogging almost every day over four years ago.

Being diagnosed with dementia at the ripe old age of 49 was more of…

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The Hardest Decision

quotivee_1024x768_0012_What-seems-like-the-right-thing-to-do-could-also-be-the-hardest               I have had a few hard decisions to make in my lifetime so far.  The first one was deciding whether to turn off life support for my fiancée back in 1987.  None of us knew what had caused him to collapse and end up in a coma, with no signs of life.  His family and I chose to do the kindest thing – let him go.  We later discovered that he had had a brain haemorrhage.  He was 24.  So I’ve grieved in the true sense, rather than in a complicated sense like I am doing now.

The second decision was not quite so hard – deciding to apply to come and live in Australia.  I was persuaded by my mum and it was a successful decision that I have not ever regretted.  I arrived here in 1991, in my mid-20s, with my whole life ahead of me.  I had the support of my aunt and uncle, and their kids (my cousins) and I loved it.  Once I found myself somewhere to live and a job to do, I was happy.  I met Steve in 1993 and we haven’t looked back since.

Now I’ve made another hard decision, which I think has been the hardest decision so far.  It is time to place Steve into permanent full time care.  I have agonised over this decision for a few months, but my tipping point has always been when he reaches the stage of incontinence.  While I do not intend to embarrass him (or our family), he is not quite there yet, although there have been a couple of mishaps.  Pamsie said to me a few months ago that probably by Christmas we would be looking for a Facility for him.  I wasn’t so sure then, but now I am.

So I have been looking at a few places.  One of them(Pennwood Village) has been recommended to us by three different people who have had family members in there throughout the last few years, most recently only a month ago.  Recommendations are always good to have, as you have no idea what a place is like otherwise.  You can go on the “feeling” of the place, how you are treated as you walk through the door to be shown around, how friendly the staff appear to be, but you never truly know until the day arrives when you take your loved one to live there.  Pennwood Village is two minutes drive from our house, and halfway between our home and Pamsie’s home, so location-wise it is perfect.  I initially went to see it two weeks ago, a few days after I had made my decision, so I was somewhat emotional (and I still have my moments!).  The Village (as I’ll call it) is a Serbian Community but caters for other nationalities as well.  I met with Dubravka, the Site Manager.  She has a strong European accent but I could understand her clearly.  She suggested that we start off by putting Steve into respite for a month, see how he settles in and then go from there, with the possibility being that the respite turns into permanency.  I was surprised at the length of time, but she assured me it’s best for Steve as it would settle him more easily than a few nights here and a few nights there.  Fair enough.  She didn’t have time to show me around on that occasion, but suggested that I take Steve there for lunch the following week.  I left, saying I would be touch.  When I arrived home I phoned Pamsie to let her know what I had done and I’m thankful that she was supportive.  We were on the phone for 30 minutes, discussing it all.  About an hour later, Dubravka called me to say she had a month’s respite available and someone had cancelled – would I like to take up the room for Steve?  He would need to go in that night.  OMG!  I wasn’t expecting something so soon, but was grateful that she called me.  I asked how long could she hold the room for as I couldn’t make a decision immediately and needed to discuss it with the family.  She would hold it until the following day.  I immediately phoned Pamsie back.  After a short discussion, I persuaded her to phone Dubravka to get a bit more information out of her.  A few minutes later she called me back.  After some tears and discussions, we decided to decline this offer as we are not quite ready (emotionally, and physically) and we really want him to spend his last Christmas at home while still living at home, but with the promise that the next time (perhaps in January or February) we will be ready.

I took Steve to lunch there on Wednesday.  Surprisingly he didn’t question me at all as to why we were there, and what the facility is for.  Obviously there were some residents around, although most were in their rooms as it was a stinking hot day.  Dubravka showed us both around the facility – it’s really nice.  It’s set up with Houses (about six or seven) which are separate from each other, but connected by covered outside walkways with gardens either side of the walkway.  Each House has about ten large, airy rooms, a dining area and kitchen.  The facility is secure without being like a prison.  Residents can wander around the gardens and the whole facility, but they cannot leave the grounds unless someone is with them as exiting requires a code.  The majority of the staff are European (probably Serbian, Yugoslav, etc) but they all seemed pleasant enough.  Then it was time for lunch.  We ate with the staff, who eat the same food as the residents, which is good (it means that the staff’s meals are no better or worse than the residents’ meals).  Sitting with us was a guy who was originally from Poland.  I asked him to speak with Steve in Polish and Steve responded fairly well, but because he was put on the spot, he became a bit lost.   The guy said he spoke well.  So if he does more in there, at least there will be someone who could converse with him if he reverts back to one of his native languages, although we would obviously like to discourage that, as we wouldn’t be able to talk with him!  We were there for just over an hour.  When we left, Dubravka gave me a hug and said she’d need to discuss some more things privately with me at some stage in the New Year, then shook Steve’s hand and he leant in and gave her a kiss!  He didn’t ask any questions at all when we arrived home, which surprised me, and I didn’t offer any more information to him.  I’m sure he knew it was an Aged Care Facility.

I have since seen two other facilities – one I didn’t like as soon as I walked in the door.  It had “the smell” of disinfectant.  I realise that it means that it’s clean, but I can’t stand the smell.  I was shown around the older (cheaper) area which was at the back of the facility and was like a rabbit warren.  The rooms were small and poky.  The newer (more expensive) area wasn’t too bad, with the rooms being slightly larger and more airy.  But I’d already made up my mind – this was not the place for Steve.  It also doesn’t have a secure area, as the Village does have a “Memory Support Unit” which is additionally secure.  The other place wasn’t too bad – similar set up to the Village, but without the gardens.  The Villa’s (as they call them) are connected by corridors.  Not quite so secure as the Village, but there is a secure “Memory Support Unit” which is completely locked down.

So now we wait until the New Year and hope that something comes up. images

In the meantime, he has been enjoying his Tuesday’s at Seasiders – the Day Respite Centre.  He will start to go there on a Friday as well next year.

Since mid-October I have been accessing some additional services to ensure that Steve is not left on his own, particularly when I am at work.  Pamsie got in touch with Home Instead Senior Care, which is a private company providing qualified, police checked CAREGiver’s to spend time with people in their own homes.  Pamsie, Andrew and I met a lady (Lee) who came out to us one Saturday to discuss our needs.  She advised us of the cost and we let her know Steve’s interests.  She arranged for Mike to meet Steve the following week.  So we organised for Mike to spend 5 hours from 10am each Friday with Steve, while I worked.  It still meant that Steve would be on his own from about 8.30am until 10am, and then from 3pm to about 4.45pm, but at least he was occupied during the main part of the day.  While Steve was reluctant about it happening, we have since heard that he actually does enjoy his time with Mike, despite complaining to me about each visit!  While it is a costly exercise, it is also a necessity.

His ACAT approved him for a Level 3-4 Home Care Package, which are as rare as hen’s teeth, but we have managed to secure a Level 2 Home Care Package with Resthaven.  Unfortunately it doesn’t allow us many hours per week – in fact we have someone for 4 hours each Thursday morning – but we may be able to add a couple of things in time, depending how much money is left in the bucket.  I am surprised at the cost but there is nothing we can do about it unfortunately.  The HCP started in mid-November.  We secured a lady called Julia who cleans our house for us on those Thursday mornings.  She is obviously a qualified carer as well, so keeps an eye on Steve, feeds and waters him before she leaves.  Friends come up in the afternoon to spend the afternoon with him which he also enjoys.

Other than that, he is with me, or I am with him – whichever way you want to look at it!  It is difficult to keep him occupied, particularly when the weather is so hot (like it is at the moment – we are currently experiencing a lengthy heatwave, which is highly unusual for December – we have had three days, so far, of over 40 degrees celcius, and still have two more days to go, before it cools down to the mid-high 20s – it’s not something we relish!!).

In mid-November, we both stayed at an overnight respite centre, called Norman House, for one night.  NH is set up like a normal family home – four bedrooms, two bathrooms (one set up with disabled facilities), kitchen, lounge and dining area, and a lovely garden.  It is secure, with access and exit being through a locked gate.  Again, Steve was reluctant at going there but soon started to enjoy himself.  Spouses/carers are allowed to stay as well, hence why I was there too.  It is staffed by qualified carers/nursing staff 24 hours a day.  NH can accommodate up to 7 people, but usually they have about 4 as each person is in a separate room.  We had a nice dinner and then retired relatively early to our room.  The following morning, I told Steve that he was staying there all day as I had to work.  Again, he was annoyed, but when I collected him he told me he had enjoyed the day, but didn’t know exactly what he did all day.  So I’m glad he seemed happy.  I booked him in for a night on his own, which he went to this week.  I didn’t tell him before we left home as I wasn’t sure of his reaction.  When we arrived, he knew what and where the place was, and asked me why didn’t I tell him.  He also said to me – which blew me away – that he likes coming here!!!  So I felt very relieved that he appeared comfortable and happy about the situation.  I left him in the arms of a very sprightly 90-year old lady called Marjorie who enjoys dancing!!  Guess what they may have done that night?  I went home, as I was due out for dinner with friends.  They collected me at 6.30pm and we went to a lovely Vietnamese restaurant in Prospect.  As I wasn’t driving I was able to have a couple of glasses of wine.  When I collected Steve the following afternoon, he was still dancing with Marjorie!!!  No, apparently they hadn’t danced the night before but they had still had some fun together, which is all I care about.  He was relaxed and happy.  When he goes for his next visit, he will be staying for a whole weekend (Friday through to Sunday) in early January, and I think he will have a ball.

So things are moving along here, albeit in a downward way for him, but at the same time, it will be a positive for him.  I think he will flourish in a more structured environment, rather than wandering around like a lost soul at home not knowing what to do with himself.

Our Christmas will be a slightly bittersweet one for us this year, knowing what we know will happen in the New Year.  However, we have to make it as enjoyable as we can, smiling through our tears, so that Steve doesn’t pick up on our sadness.


I would like to wish all my followers a very Merry Christmas, and good health, wealth and happiness for the coming year of 2016.


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Thank you for following my blog this year.  See you in 2016.

Forget-Me-Not   original pattern 2

The Power of Positivity


Hi there !!!

My last blog mentioned how I’d lost my voice and had an annoying dry cough.  Well, it turned into the flu.  I slept in the spare room as I didn’t want to disturb Steve at night, and I also didn’t want him to catch it.  My aunt came over (at my request) on the Monday to take Steve grocery shopping, as I couldn’t muster the strength to go myself.  The day after, she came back over and took me back to her place for about six days until I was better.  She arranged that Pamsie would stay with Steve at night for the duration.  I ended up getting badly infected ears, and was quite deaf for a while, which was really annoying, and painful.  The cough worsened but then cleared.  Eventually I was starting to mend, and by the Sunday I was home again, and feeling so much better.  It was lovely to have a little break from my caring duties – in fact the role was reversed; I was the one being cared for.  However, even now – six weeks after my “sick leave”, I have only just recently returned to “normal”!

A week or so after I returned home, mum arrived from the UK for a six week visit.  It was wonderful to have her here again as another support.  We have been spending quite a bit of time together.  I took her and Steve up to Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens to see the magnolia trees in flower, which were looking rather beautiful.  It was a lovely sunny day, and we had a good couple of hours wandering around the magnolias, and then another part of the Gardens where some of the rhododendrons were beginning to flower.  We saw a small patch of forget-me-nots in flower as well, shaded under some trees – just gorgeous.  But today, she returned back to the UK and the cold weather, having just had a lovely burst of warm weather here in Adelaide.

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My mum took this beautiful photo.

Steve has been to Seasiders, a “Day Care” or respite centre, a couple of times recently.  The first two times he went, he couldn’t stop talking about it.  He had a brochure on the types of activities they do there and I am amazed that he didn’t wear it out as he looked at it almost every minute of the day.  It was great to see him so animated about something.  Gavin (his Tuesday morning carer) took him, in the hope that it might interest him enough to start going regularly.  I never imagined how positive Steve would become about it.  I arranged to go and look at the place with him.  We turned up about 10.30am, had morning tea, met the friendly staff and people who go there (all of whom have dementia), and one of the staff took Steve off to help with some crafty things that were being done in another room.  I sat and chatted to the Team Leader (Angela) for a while, before joining Steve.  We were shown around the place a bit more – outside in the garden which they want to develop a bit more, the art area, the Tai Chi area, the craft area; it looks great.  We decided not to stay for lunch so left just as it was being served up.  I eventually talked to Steve about it and asked him if he would like to attend regularly.  I know that he doesn’t really like spending time with Gavin – he has told me frequently – so I gave him a bit of a compromise: “how about if you would like to go to Seasiders, why not go on a Tuesday (to start with) and then you wouldn’t have to be with Gavin?”.  He agreed quite quickly.  They would be able to collect him, if I am unable to drop him off at the Centre, and drop him home again.  The hours would be approximately 10am to 3.30pm, which would give me a bit of “me” time.  In time, I hope that he might want to go on a Thursday as well, but I will not be pushing it.  I’ll see how he gets on first.  Monday’s to Wednesday’s is a mixed group of males and females, and Thursday’s and Friday’s are men only, which he may prefer.  We will trial it and see how it goes.  His first “session” was yesterday and he came home thoroughly enthused by it having had a great day.  I’m so pleased – he seems quite happy and jovial about it🙂 .

Our car club (Ford Owner’s Car Club) has had a couple of events in the last couple of months which we have been on and enjoyed.  The first one, at the end of August, involved a drive to Mallala (north of Adelaide) where we looked around the local Museum.  It was very interesting with a lot of war memorabilia, old farming equipment, furniture, clothing, – all sorts of interesting items.  We spent almost two hours there before departing for Port Wakefield where we had lunch at one of pubs.  Barry and Mary had offered to take us, which was great.  There were about 30 club members in attendance.

The second event was a Progressive Dinner which was a couple of weeks ago.  I offered to my services as driver this time, but because the weather had been rather wet earlier in the week, Barry wondered if my car would be able to manage one of the locations, which was in the Adelaide Hills and had a gravel road and then a steep rough track to the first stop.  He offered to drive his small four wheel drive instead, so once again we were chauffeured.  We all met at Regency Park at 1pm, and were provided with detailed instructions which included a quiz (with prizes!).  We tried to stay in convoy, and for the most part, we managed it, only occasionally getting split up due to traffic lights.  It took us just over an hour to get to the first location at Kersbrook – the directions took us a long way round, with quite a few questions to answer along the way.  I haven’t referred to the location as a house, as there is no longer a house on the property.  Sadly it was completely destroyed in the January bushfires which wreaked havoc in the Hills.  Irene and Lee, who own the property, lost almost everything.  They are now trying to get council approval to build their new house.  Regardless of a lack of house, we all trooped to their property – I’ll admit I was pleased not to have driven; I would have been worried about my car and driving it in such steep and risky terrain.  We had a “Special High Tea” on the concrete slab, which is the only remaining thing of their original house that’s left!  They had put up some marquee type covers which protected us from the sun (thankfully the rain had cleared earlier in the week as quickly as it had arrived!) and we had some delicious sandwiches, cup cakes, other sweet treats, and cups of tea or coffee.  We had a round of pass the parcel, which ended up being a box of choccys.  Then it was back to the main road and onto the next location at Mylor – also in the Adelaide Hills.  Again, more questions needed to be answered along the way.  We drove through some lovely areas of the Hills, which are looking decidedly pretty at this time of the year, with the leaves and flowers all exploding into glorious colour.  At Mylor, Paul and Gloria greeted us at the local Oval Hall with a selection of home made soups.  After spending about an hour here, it was time to move on again to the last place.  We had directions but no quiz this time due to the angle of the sun and the windy roads – too dangerous to be watching out for things and trying to focus on the road at the same time, with the sun low in the sky.  The final house was at Glenunga, in the south eastern suburbs of Adelaide.  Here, Kevin and Eileen provided a barbecue and salads, along with desserts.  The 35 or so members all gathered around with their chairs and drinks, and proceeded to relax and enjoy themselves, us included.  The quiz results were read out – can’t remember who won, but we came second (we are known as the “Suzuki Team” because that’s what Barry drives!).  We won a bottle of red wine (per couple) which was great.  By 9pm we were back on the road to home this time.  We had had a wonderful afternoon and evening, but I could see that Steve was really beginning to wilt after such a full day!

positive-thoughts-3The following day we had an equally busy one!  We had two birthday parties to attend – the first one started at 2pm and was a 70th birthday, and the second one started at 6pm and was an 80th!  We didn’t know anyone except the hosts at the first party, who are friends of mum’s (so she was invited too), so we didn’t stay until the end.  At the second party, we knew most people, as they were all from dancing.  Mum was invited too as she had met them all before at various things.  There was a bit of dancing throughout the evening, which Steve struggled with a bit, along with quite a lot of yummy food (we each took a plate to share).  We had a good evening.  It finished about 10pm and we were home just after 10.30pm.  Again, Steve was pretty exhausted, but he did enjoy himself.

I am trying to keep him occupied with useful fun things to do.  On Wednesday a couple of weeks ago, he spent most of the day with a friend of ours (Len) and I spent time with Heather (Len’s wife).  Each of us had a great time.  Len showed Steve how to paint a picture, as he is a great self-taught artist, now that he is retired from teaching.  Len had asked me to select a photo from our collection of a seascape or landscape, so I quickly chose a few to take to his place.  The one he thought would be best is of Shelley Beach at Nambucca Heads on the New South Wales northern coast.  It was a beautiful spot which we spent time at in 2003 in our campervan.  So while Heather and I were out “doing lunch” and catching up (they have recently returned from a three month trip), Len helped Steve to create the painting.  Even though it is not yet finished, it is absolutely brilliant.  Len will help Steve to finish it off next time they see each other in a couple of weeks.  If Steve persists, he may end up becoming as good an artist as Len, and then he will have something else to do with his time.  He might even do some painting at Seasiders!

It’s funny – quite some time ago, both Andrew and Pamsie mentioned about coming here one weekend to help their dad clean up his shed.  Even though the weather has been pretty cold and, at times, wet, it hasn’t been bad every single weekend.  They’ve also mentioned about putting up some gates at the top end of the driveway and down the side of our house, for when Pamsie can bring her dog over to spend time with Steve.  Strange, but I haven’t heard anything lately about all this being done ……

Andrew took take his dad out fishing on Saturday 3rd October.  Little did I know, as I was kept in the dark, that Pamsie was to join them later in the morning.  They all had a great day but didn’t end up catching anything very much, certainly nothing to bring home.  Hopefully it will happen again sometime, when the weather becomes even more stable.

I went to see the stage show “Dirty Dancing”, with my mum, aunt, cousin and cousin’s wife on that day.  What a great show it was.  Afterwards we went to have drinks at 2KW (a bar on the 8th floor of a building overlooking the northern parklands) and then we went out for dinner at Jolleys Boathouse.  I had organised that Pamsie would spend the evening time with Steve, which appeared to go well.

Things have been running pretty smoothly in the last few weeks which has been great.








Until next time ….

Forget-Me-Not   original pattern 2


This entry was posted on October 7, 2015. 2 Comments

Dementia: Nine Ways to Provide Comfort

Seeking The Good Life

Generally people, even family members, don’t know how to provide comfort once a diagnosis of dementia has been made.  You read all sorts of stories of family and friends not keeping touch, once dementia takes hold.  If they do ‘hang on in there’ they may be unsure what to say, or how to help.  I think the following suggestions from a book by Mara Botonis, ‘When Caring Takes Courage’,  are really helpful on this front:Get out of your comfort zone:

  1. A small gesture goes a long, long way. The gifts that matter most are the ones that help me save time and energy and are a treat that I can enjoy at home without arranging care. I don’t always have time to read a book or watch a movie, or take advantage of invites to restaurant meals or spa treatments, but these are things that I can and will enjoy. Dropping off a pre-made dinner, a…

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