We are really getting into the swing of life with Bebe & she is doing wonderfully well...
Far better than we ever imagined!
She has been with us for 3 weeks now & has already got to grips with the stairs & where her bedroom & bathroom are... When she arrived she was unsteady & using a walking stick, we had to assist her on the stairs & getting up the step in her bathroom.
Now she has given up her stick & can negotiate the stairs & step independently... Has she just gained confidence or is our vegan diet working wonders?!
We moved to Cornwall when Hugo was just 5 years old & although Bebe has seen him regularly over the years she just can't accept that he is now a young man, so sadly she greets him as either a stranger or thinks he is Kay's Brother!
Bebe is loving day care & will soon be going in for regular respite.
We are missing being able to go out in the evenings, so once we are satisfied that she is ready - we will be bringing in a sitter for one evening a week. We know how important it is for all of us to have some time out!
Last weekend, Bebe was invited to a Christmas party at her day care place...
Sime was in charge of hair styling!
And we spent a very pleasant afternoon on The Roseland...
We firstly got drenched in the rain...
Then enjoyed a dry, but windy walk around Portloe.
We seem to be getting into a routine with Bebe & have seen quite a transformation over the last week...
Amazing what a hair cut & some new clothes can do!
She is settling well & although there are periods when reassurance is needed, she has been able to move away from focusing on things which cause her distress. We have spent many hours talking & helping her to understand why she thinks the way she does. Some of the more mundane topics, Sime has now written about in a laminated letter - which we hand to Bebe when she starts to repeat herself & gradually the answers to these questions are seeping through!
She is loving her time at daycare, which is a great bonus & she is amazingly sleeping well - if we can persuade her to keep off the coffee at night!
Bebe's had a go on her old typewriter, though found it a struggle to concentrate...
We'll get it out again at the weekend & keep encouraging her. We've also tried playing Scrabble, but she was unable to unscramble the letters to form any words - we shall persevere!
Listening to her favourite music definitely makes a huge difference to Bebe's mood, she is at her happiest when singing, dancing or with both of us chatting.
This is what happened after a bowl of soup today...
We're also managing to get her out walking & after not venturing out of her home for 3 years - she is doing fantastically!!!
A breezy Mevagissey Harbour this morning...
As Bebe says several times a day...
"D'you know something? I think this move is going to work out."
We found out recently that Bebe also suffers from Sundowners Syndrome & witnessed during our journey home yesterday just how quickly her personality changes.
We were in the car & as soon as it began getting dark, she no longer knew who we were... She had been happy & relaxed, chatting away - when suddenly, she was filled with fear & agitation!
She was angry on her arrival; the house was too cold, her room was too big, but eventually we calmed her down by distracting her with some of her favourite music & very quickly, she was dancing!
She was on top form over dinner & had us all in hysterics...
She is having a problem recognising Hugo - it's been a couple of years since she last saw him & of course, he's a young man now. Last night he was Rodney, we have no idea why... She enjoyed the laughter as much as we did!
By midnight, we were flagging & had to call time on the fun, again she became very agitated. She hadn't snoozed during the day, which surprised us & we were even more amazed that she was still going strong at 1am! We eventually persuaded her into bed with a hops & lavender cushion underneath her pillow & she has slept soundly... Phew!!!
We know we should keep Bebe occupied in the evenings, so have brought her typewriter & we'll see if she can still use it. Music is so obviously therapeutic for her & seeing her dance last night was great fun. Making sure the rooms are well-lit & warm makes her happy... Hugs & being silly seem to put her in a better mood, but leaving her for a few minutes causes her mood to slip. At the moment, it feels like we're playing tag & there always needs to be at least one of us with her, but we hope in time she'll settle down.
Luckily, we all have a great sense of humour & are certain everything will be just fine!
We've almost prepared the house ready for Bebe's arrival - most importantly, her room is ready...
She will be going into our guest room, so we haven't had much to do in there.
We've put her photographs up on the walls, put her CD player in place, clothes in the wardrobe & drawers, but kept it simple & clutter free.
When Nan was with us, we made her room into a comfortable bedsit, but she tended to stay in there & almost cut herself off from us at times...
We want to encourage Bebe to spend time downstairs, she'll have the sitting room more or less to herself if she wants some peace & we've brought her TV down, so she'll be able to watch all her musicals again... She lost the ability to use her DVD & CD players a while ago, which was really sad - she loves music & we'll make sure she gets plenty of opportunities to enjoy them all again!
Lupe's already made himself at home & seems to be loving Bebe's winceyette sheets (good job she loves kitties)!
We've moved the bed against the wall - it will take some time for Bebe to settle & get to know her room, having just one side to get in & out of bed is less confusing. We shall also be putting signs on all the doors, so she'll know where everybody/thing is... We found this really helpful with Nan.
A memory book is next on the agenda, with photos & stories for her to enjoy... Might need Rose's help with that (she's the artistic member of the family). Might be a nice Crimbo present!
Anyway, we've had our last taste of freedom for a while... We had a fabulous weekend with our lovely friends, Kath & Jim in Glastonbury - we were there for the amazing carnival, see Kath's blog for great photos & videos. Here's a few of our's...
We also walked up to the Tor, something we've wanted to do for years...
Kath's lovely 12 years young doggie, Roobarb joined us for the walk!
A Pagan ceremony had just finished when we arrived at the top, so there were lots of interesting people around... But can you spot Kath on the photo?
Those of you who know her blog will have spotted her jacket!
We had a lovely time & felt pampered & relaxed when we reluctantly left for Stoke...
We spent a couple of days sorting out Bebe's flat & visited Grandad Gerry & Nana Stip-Pep, then it was time for our city break... In Birmingham!
For the first time this year, it felt like we've had a proper holiday - our previous breaks seemed filled with problem calls regarding Bebe & work, this time we were left to enjoy ourselves...
It's been over 16 years since we visited Birmingham & it's changed a lot. Sime's going to do a post about it soon, but here's a little taster...
Bye for now & thank you for all your positive messages!
We have had a great time entertaining many B&B guests, but now have decided to stop & concentrate on the things that are far more important. Firstly, ourselves... Sharing our home with many strangers is quite exhausting & Sime in particular has worn himself out giving his all, something neither of us had really noticed until we stopped.
Secondly, Bebe (Sime's mum) is going to be moving in with us...
Her dementia is progressing, though the conditions she was continuing to live in were obviously not helping.
We feel she has been let down by the social care support team, her carers seemed to be excellent on the surface, but in reality - she has been badly neglected. On our last visit, we found her flat in a terrible state. The cleaner had disappeared, her hairdresser had stopped going in & some of the carers didn't even bother to feed for her! On top of all this, she has been phoning the police about her hot water & heating, roaming the streets & inviting strangers into her home.
Sime has asked on several occasions for some guidance about what to do next from the social care team, but they had continually insisted that Bebe was fine at home.
A few weeks ago, Bebe ended up in a psychiatric hospital for assessment & it was agreed that she could no longer cope on her own... At last we felt relieved to know that she was safe, but of course - being in an assessment unit means that it is only temporary. The pressure was suddenly on us again to come up with a way forward & after much discussion, we decided that we should again talk to Bebe about moving in with us & amazingly, she has agreed!
We cared for my nan until her death in 2009 - she too had vascular dementia, so we are fully aware of what life will be like... There will be ups, downs & lots of hard work, but we want Bebe to end her days surrounded by family, with as much fun & laughter as possible. She is a great entertainer & loves the limelight, so will no doubt become a huge part of our blog! We have promised ourselves to get back into writing - we have so many tales to tell & photos to share... Once Bebe is here & settled, life will hopefully be easier!
I can't tell you how many times we've started writing about various things, but have had to stop due to lots of things going on... We have lots of draft posts, some with a few photos & no words, some with just a title & a line or two... It's quite a few, but neither of us seems to find time to get them finished & after several weeks the desire to share those photos or ideas just fades & we move on to the next thing.
Some days are just so crazy... Getting up at 6.30am to prepare breakfast for guests, then doing a full day's clean, returning at about 5.30pm, cooking dinner, eating with our guests & more often than not - chatting away until late, washing up & finally falling into bed at around 1am... I don't know how we do it, but we do.
The one thing we are doing right this year is making sure that we have 2 days off from going out to work, which is great - though frustrating for some of our customers who desperately want us to work at short notice...
At one time, Sime would have given in & agreed to us working on days we wanted off. His argument being that we should make the money while we can, but after years of me becoming ill every summer & ending up in hospital last year - he's finally seeing things quite differently.
He makes me stop if I'm really tired, while he continues to entertain our guests so wonderfully.
Our slow Sundays are always great, we enjoy pottering & chilling out. Most of our guests love that we have an unplugged day too & we think it's also contributed to us gradually slipping away from the computer... We've even lost interest in watching films like we used to! One thing that hasn't stopped though is our love for music & spending so much time with fabulous folks means lots of new music has been discovered, music from all over the world - fantastic!
Another thing we have been doing is asking guests to give a donation for meals, rather than us charging & as our first pot quickly filled... We are now on our second sealed pot, which is amazing!