24 Hours With Dementia: A Carer’s Day

September 17, 2013

ostrich-purple-angel-stickerIn July Norman McNamara told what it was like to live with dementia. Today Norrms’ life partner and carer, the amazing Elaine, has agreed to share what a typical day caring for Norman involves. Both Norrms and Elaine are part of the Ostrich Purple Angel campaign for dementia awareness on the high street, and Elaine is the inspiration for the Purple Angel logo, as Norrms calls her his Angel.

A busy morning: shower & breakfast

Alarm goes off at 6 am, time to give Norrms his medication, up and coffee made. Norrms watches TV and I have a shower when there’s a bang on the door!

– “Where are you? You have been ages, I thought you had gone” he says

– “It’s OK love I am just having a shower”

Norrms goes back to watch TV.

Showered and dressed I ask Norrms to have a shower “I’ll just watch this” he says. “Norrms! Come and have a shower please? NO NORRMS! Norrms is now trying to get dressed, shirt upside down, “you need a shower love” 

I finally get him into the shower. Getting Norrms dressed is another thing, it’s so confusing for him, puts both feet in one trouser leg, socks in trouser pocket, hankies now become socks. “No love, Put your hankies in your pockets and I will put your socks on” 

Getting someone ready with dementia, is, like my friend says, “Pushing treacle uphill” 

Good intentions & dementia don’t go hand in hand together

Elaine and Norrms at the inauguration of the Ostrich Purple Angel dementia awareness campaignWe have breakfast and Norrms needs a clean top “AGAIN” Norrms goes on computer and is quite happy. I wash up, hoover, mop floors, clean bathroom, then I need to pay a bill at the local post office, 15 mins later I arrive back in our flat.


DEEP BREATH !! Count to ten !! Norms decided he would make a chilli whilst I was out as computer too slow. There is passato, chilli powder, onions all up the wall and floor and carpet, as well as in bathroom.

“never mind, go back on your computer “

He does. 45 mins later I have cleaned it all up, 11.30am we go out for a drive and a lovely walk. Norrms stumbles several times but is OK as he holds onto me. We have lunch at the cafe, everything is fine. Norrms is now tired. We go back home, Norrms has an orange, the juice goes all over his top, time to change his top AGAIN. I ask what he wants for his evening meal, he says “I’ll have cottage pie, I cook Dinner.

5.30pm Dinner’s ready.  Norrms says “I asked for Chicken and potatoes, I don’t want cottage pie! 

“it’s OK love, just sit at table please”

Norrms sets extra places for his “Friends” they are coming for tea. “I say OK LOVE”

He has a full conversation in the lounge with them. Norrms and I sit down for tea, “there is only us here” Norrms is Hallucinating again!

Whilst having tea Norrms says “I’ve spilt my tea. “Doesn’t matter, I will change it for you. After tea we watch TV. It’s now 8 pm.

Norms says “Tell my friends to go, I don’t like them!  I reassure Norrms it’s OK, he is tired so I help him get ready for bed. Norrms goes to bed about 9pm and listens to music. I can hear him shouting once or twice so again I reassure him and he drifts off to sleep.

A ‘quiet’ night for a dementia sufferer and his carer

10.12 pm he comes back into the lounge and shouts “What time do you call this? He thinks its 10 past 12. I give Norrms his medication and we go to bed.

Norrms goes to sleep and all quiet till about 10.30pm, Norrms is fighting and shouting in his sleep, having night terrors. I reassure him and he finally goes to settles at 12.45 am. I go to sleep, 3AM Norrms stood fighting and shouting again (Hallucinating this time) He says “I can see children who are dead and dying everywhere, PLEASE help them!!

I reassure him and settle Norrms down again. He settles at 4.50 am, I go to sleep. The alarm goes off, its 6 am.

Time to get up, never mind, put a smile on my face, today is another day.



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