The price of passion

We’ve talked about the fact that dad had formed a close relationship with a lady in the Dementia Care Home where he lived. The home clearly had lots of issues dealing with this and in particular keeping them apart and stopping them expressing their passion publically.

It turned out the Home just couldn’t handle it and we went through the rather bizarre process of having to lecture our father on his handling, or should I say, his mishandling of the situation.

Giving your dad a lecture on his sexual behaviour is a new experience for me and one I never expected to have. “Dad, it’s just not respectful to Violet to be putting your hand up her skirt in public. Is it?” “Well, when you put it like that I guess not”, says dad! In the end the discussion went OK but how much he retained is another matter.

It seems this behaviour is not unusual for people with advanced dementia. The brains ‘braking system’ the part of the frontal cortex which inhibits our impulsive behaviour becomes impaired and those impulses are left to have free rein.

At first we were upset and a little ashamed of dad’s behaviour, made worse by the home treating it like something unusual and very difficult to handle. We have since found out it is relatively common and that they should have had safeguarding procedures in place as neither Dad nor Violet are deemed to be fully competent.

The fact that the staff could not stop two 84 year olds, both with limited capacity and in dads case very slow and wobbly mobility, from ‘escaping’ to his room is more a measure of the quality of care rather than poor behaviour. It’s amazing what a change in management can do at a Home and we would urge you to watch carefully if it happens in a Care Home where your loved one is a resident.

dementia-price-of-passionAs mentioned in a previous post, the new manager eventually said dad would have to leave. The Older People’s Mental Health team were less than happy with the home and the way they had handled the situation so we were left in the middle of a very disgruntled manager and a very cross, if supportive, mental health team. The answer, of course, was drugs, as you can read in our post Watch the antipsychotics.

In the end we moved dad to a Care Home that the Adult Services team deeply disapproved of. We can’t quite make out why they don’t approve of this home except that perhaps it is because it’s new and very well appointed.

This new home’s philosophy is much more hands on. The carers are in with the residents all the time. They give one to one attention and offer numerous activities. It has really made us realise how care is usually focused on the physical rather than on mental stimulation and how most Care Homes could do so much more on that front. There is, after all, a huge amount of evidence that mental stimulation slows down the progression of dementia.

Within a week the new home had also solved dad’s incontinence just by helping him remember to go. This was something he was very ashamed of so it has been a great boost for his mood. It is early days at the new home but fingers crossed…