I took the Goldfish to our first lunch group. We won’t go again. It’s very much a group for carers (i.e. partners) as much as for the people with dementia. Each demented person had a spouse with him/her – except for the Goldfish who had me. This prompted a lot of questions: Was I his main carer? Why wasn’t his wife with him? Was she dead?
In front of the Goldfish I couldn’t explain his wife is not interested in doing anything with her husband and wants other people – anyone else – to take him out of her presence as much as possible. These are people who actually care about their partners and want to enjoy doing things together despite the confusions and difficulties. I was impressed when I heard about how two couples are arranging to go away on holiday together, each looking out for each other’s partner.
The Goldfish was not happy. He didn’t eat all his meal, which is unlike him. He answered questions about his job, and living on Islay but didn’t ask anyone else questions. I don’t know if he realised how odd it was that he was the only one not part of a couple or if it was being with a group of total strangers. At one time this would not have worried him in the slightest and he would have relished meeting new people.
When he needed to go to the loo, I took him to the door of the gents and he said he would find his way back. He didn’t. One of the others went off to search and found him wandering, very confused, at the other bar in the hotel – trying to pay for the lunch for everyone. He brought him back, minus his walking stick which was later tracked down in the loo.
The step-monster was very disappointed when I said we wouldn’t go again, seeing it as a lost opportunity to get rid of her husband for a couple of hours. However, when I mentioned the cost of the lunch, she quickly agreed it was probably better not to go again!