“Don’t shine for it”

“Don’t shine for it”

BBC drama ‘Care’ highlights the struggles faced by families coping with dementia


Some of you may have seen the hard-hitting drama “Care” on the BBC depicting the story of Mary, a woman who suffers a stroke and very suddenly plunges her and her family in to the world of learning to live with dementia.


It shows very real and profound sensory and cognitive restrictions often faced by people living with dementia. Mary’s vision is shown as blurred and confused and her words come out jumbled and seemingly meaningless.


As well as learning this new world, the family have to deal with the ostensibly obstructive health care system. The protagonist’s daughters are told she will return home despite this clearly being unsuitable. A Best Interest meeting is held where Mary is largely ignored. A GP is giving his assessment of Mary and she gets increasingly agitated saying “Don’t shine for it”. She means to say “Don’t listen to him”. .


Many obstacles are faced on the family’s journey, including finding out about, and then having to fight for, the much sought-after but little-understood Continuing Health Care. This lifeline allowed Mary to receive the funding she needed to secure a place in a suitable nursing home to meet her ongoing care needs.


If you or a loved one is in a similar situation, do not assume you will be furnished with all the information you need or all the support that is out there. It is an emotional and stressful time but seek advice from various sources, for example Age UK , online at www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk or by searching relevant terms on the internet.


In the meantime, remember that just because communication may have changed with someone living with dementia, does not mean it is meaningless. Take time to learn certain words and what they might mean.


Observe changes in demeanor in certain situations. All this can be used to ensure person-centred care either at home or in an appropriate care setting.


Mount Olivet recently hosted a Dementia Awareness training day which involved experiencing sensory deprivation which gave a real insight to our staff of what it can be like living with dementia. I look forward to sharing feedback of this training session next month. Until then, a happy and healthy New Year from everyone at Mount Olivet and Kingsmount Residential Home!

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