At first, she didn’t mention the possibility of a care home, and when it quietly slipped into conversation one day, he was negative. It was only when the social worker brought it up, that it was discussed again in his presence. And at that stage he seemed to accept it as something in the future.
In between, there were times when battle lines were sometimes drawn. They had only been married about 3 years, and she had gone into it suspecting Alzheimers Disease was in the offing. He was ten years older than her, but they were in love, and she felt she could cope, with her nursing experience. For the new house they bought some Ikea furniture, a sofa delivered ready-made, and a recliner chair which had to be assembled. He was keen to do this husbandly job, so she left him to it, though keeping a quiet eye on progress. She noticed that there were parts on the rug, and a million screws, washers and nuts. She could see they were not being counted and checked against the instruction leaflet, so she intervened, offering to perhaps help or take over. He bristled and pushed her away. She offered instead to count the small screws to make sure they were all there, but he was annoyed, as he had always worked with his hands, making bespoke furniture as part of his business.
Now she was beginning to panic, and tried to gently put the screws, washers and nuts into small piles. “No!” he shouted, “I’ll do it!” and physically pushed her away. “But that’s the way you have to do Ikea furniture, it’s not like the things you used to make from scratch”, she argued, and before she realised, she had taken his arm to pull him away. “No!”, he shouted, this time loudly, and pushed her away. “But I’m trying to help you!” she argued. “I don’t need your help! Give me that piece!”. His eyes flashed, but she felt she knew what she was doing, and she had to take over.
The gentle push became a shove, returned by him with more energy, and even anger. Before they knew what was happening, they had physically clashed. She could see how angry he was, and the push had hurt her arm as well as her feelings. She struck back. And then she remembered what they had been talking about at the Alzheimers Café: “Divert, Distract, Deflect.” And, stepping back, she made a quick decision that this was not the way to go!