IF you can get out... does this help?

Discussion in 'I have a partner with dementia' started by Grahamstown, May 6, 2019.

  1. Grahamstown

    Grahamstown Registered User

    Jan 12, 2018
    1,336
    East of England
  2. DennyD

    DennyD Registered User

    Without a doubt. For me it is a no-brainer. Even without talking being with nature is a natural healer. Walking is man's best medicine - can't remember who said that, was it Nietzsche? Not only for myself but going out in nature with my husband makes all the difference to him as well. And therefore makes us both feel better.
     
  3. Grahamstown

    Grahamstown Registered User

    Jan 12, 2018
    1,336
    East of England
    #3 Grahamstown, May 6, 2019
    Last edited: May 6, 2019
    @DennyD I do so wish we could do that together. Unfortunately my husband couldn’t possibly do the walk I did this morning so I have to take my chances when I can. To do this regularly every day will require more effort on my part. The two of us just potter about quarter of a mile and that’s enough for him. It has had a beneficial result because I have been much more patient with him since, only becoming exasperated after lunch when he is very tearful, anxious, repetitive and has gone to his bed. I parked the car so that we had to walk through a beautiful garden to get to lunch but he complained all the way even though it is familiar. We met some friends and he was on pretty good host mode for most of the time but when we started off for home his condition really took hold and I got him home as fast as possible. His pleasure in nature which used to be so strong barely registers now unless we are in a familiar place because his anxiety levels are high and he just wants to get home. He always points out his familiar landmarks like the church spire or trees and clouds but seems oblivious to anything else.
     
  4. Marnie63

    Marnie63 Registered User

    Dec 26, 2015
    1,590
    Hampshire
    I have been 'rambling' for a very long time and when I was caring for mum, even though it took a military operation to organise carers, right timings, phoning home to encourage mum to eat, go to loo, etc., I still tried to do it when I could as it got me out chatting and walking in the fresh air and it did help. After mum passed away last September I have launched myself into walking with various groups at any opportunity, plus doing a few walking holidays away. It's so therapeutic. I think it's the best thing you can do to keep yourself fit, happy and in touch with other people. I would highly recommend to anyone. Just back from an eight miler where we walked through forests, heard cuckoos, walked through a swarm of mayflies, stopped at a pub, walked the perimeter of an old Roman wall and had a look around a lovely village church. Not to mention putting the world to rights! Walking and nature are good healers, or have been for me at least, and once you have a bit of basic gear, not an expensive pastime at all. It is so enjoyable, I feel so good after a long walk and don't feel too guilty having a little snooze on the sofa!
     
  5. DennyD

    DennyD Registered User

    I know it is not the same with our partners. I admit I get more out of it when by myself. But as we know to find the time is becoming increasingly difficult. I find myself getting up earlier and earlier just to have that extra bit of time to sneak out of the house and enjoy some nature. We are lucky to have the beach very nearby. But trying to get out further afield to gain the true benefit of this exercise is very hard indeed.
     
  6. PalSal

    PalSal Registered User

    Walking and hiking have been the number 1 benefit to my husband since his diagnosis. For many years he walked alone. Then joined a walking group which did not last very long. The last 5 or 6 years, I have one volunteer 2 hours each week and a paid walker who gives him strenuous exercise twice a week for 3.5 hours each time. they hike in the local foothills and I am sure it is the key to his longevity with this disease. The exercise and nature benefit him. I walk him on the off days which gives me benefit, too.
     
  7. marionq

    marionq Registered User

    Apr 24, 2013
    5,793
    Female
    Scotland
    John and I always walked every day after we retired. When we first moved to this house almost nine years ago we would walk 3 miles to a local National Trust property for coffee and then 3 miles back. Bit by bit his dementia and the serious arthritis in an injury in one knee reduced his mobility. At the last discussion with doctors I remember saying the most he could walk was a mile. Now he can only manage five minutes without starting to wilt.

    The effect of these limits on the PWD affects the carer too as I am less fit and have put weight on so those of you who can still get out exercising on your own should keep this going for your own health. My garden and maintenance on the house have now become my main forms of exercise where I can still have an eye on my husband.
     
  8. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    69,381
    Kent
    What also happens is loss of muscle tone when carers are as housebound as those they are caring for.

    My long term weight problem is now worse than ever because of loss of muscle tone and arthritis in the feet which make walking distances painful.

    It was always a struggle but now is even worse so I do beg carers to get as much exercise as possible to try to avoid even bigger health problems later on.
     
  9. maryjoan

    maryjoan Registered User

    Mar 25, 2017
    1,293
    Female
    South of the Border
    I think the becoming housebound because of our caring situation is the worse thing. Combined with painful arthritis in both knees, I know my mental state is not good. I just want it all to go away - I am so jealous of his uncomplicated life - no responsibility, no worries, just playing snooker and bowls, nodding off in front of the telly - I carry everything, and I muse and chunter on about it all in my head, all day long. And the 'me' of my youth thought that dementia was just ' a loss of memory' - it is so much more than that, for all concerned.
     
  10. AliceA

    AliceA Registered User

    May 27, 2016
    2,359
    We too are in the same position, we were keen walkers, the car was never used unless it was too far to walk or go by other means.
    We always had a variety of good outdoor clothes.
    Now like you, I am restricted, I have always struggled with weight gain but now without this exercise I am gaining. I have just had a recall to GP as my sugar is a bit high.
    My diet is good so I fear the cause is lack of exercise.
    Caring is one thing but the effect on health is another. To care one needs health.
    Over the last couple of years it has been a downward spiral, village walking is quite rough for someone unsteady. The walker helps to a point, we stop a lot. So no striding out.
    We were catching a bus into town, walking somewhere then sitting and having a coffee, meeting people.
    Toilets were available!
    There is a canal walk. Now transport has been axed, we or rather I feel trapped.
    We were going to Tao. Chi twice a week. That stopped.
    I have to be within range of my husband because of his health.
    The days of grabbing, a piece of cheese and and a apple and walking for hours are a distant memory.
    So back to drawing board for me.
     
  11. AliceA

    AliceA Registered User

    May 27, 2016
    2,359
    Sorry Maryjoan I did not enlarge the font in my last post. I wish the default font could be fixed.

    This feeling of being housebound is so disabling.
    It has an effect on our mental and emotional health too. Things we could at one time take in our stride become more burdensome.
    I have just done a Future Learn course, the deep debate and wide discussions uplifted me.
    I realised how much I missed my former activities that were mind stretching. The interaction was meaniful and as so many on here say, adult conversation. As a couple we used to share these interests.
    Now I feel how an addict must feel without a fix.
     
  12. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    69,381
    Kent
    I know it can sound self pitying.

    I`m alive. My husband is dead.

    Even though life has changed, life does change and I know I still have a lot to be thankful for.

    I was listening to Simon Weston talking on the radio about PTSD, about how little it is acknowledged and how little help is available, if any.

    In no way am I comparing the degree of the aftermath of being war wounded with the aftermath of caring. Even so our lives are changed forever and instead of growing old together we have to be grateful for what we had and hope our memories are not too traumatic.
     
  13. AliceA

    AliceA Registered User

    May 27, 2016
    2,359
    I feel there is a comparison as it depends on the person rather than necessarily the situation.
    We are primed up to react to so much as Carers that when actual caring stops our bodies and minds are trained to react at any similar sound.
    We have lost the purpose and meaning, we grieve for that as well as the actual person that has been out life.
    Also we are not recognised just as many foot soldiers are not recognised, there is no support of glory to act as a salve not that a salve is the real answer.
    So not selfpity at all, Sylvia. You have the right to feel bereft.
     
  14. maryjoan

    maryjoan Registered User

    Mar 25, 2017
    1,293
    Female
    South of the Border
    I know exactly what you mean - every day is a burden - I am sick to my soul of scrabble, TV noisy Quiz shows on at volume 50, seeing him sat up in bed with his dressing gown, and hat on!. I sometimes wonder if a measure of my mental health is how often I come onto this site to interact with others in a similar situation...........each day I think " I will stay off TP and have a normal life" but it does not work that way, does it? It's the first thing in the morning, last thing at night, and umpteen times in between - here I am, trying to make contact with the outside world.
    He is going playing bowls this afternoon - they are very good to ask him - what will I do? Mooch around, indoors, out doors but with little interest in anything, because I am tired, weary, and totally fed up with what my life has become.
     
  15. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    69,381
    Kent
    Thanks Alice.

    By nature I`m positive.

    I have accepted everything which happened to us as part of life. It is what it is. I also accept the scars but feel they should not be hidden.

    It`s good we can acknowledge those scars here.

    Going back to @Grahamstown `s first post. What hit me was how lucky she considered herself that she managed a couple of hours to walk when originally it had been an important part of a shared life.
     
  16. AliceA

    AliceA Registered User

    May 27, 2016
    2,359
    I know you are Sylvia, that shines through but sometimes something insignificant happens and we are thrown off balance. We see the big things coming but not the small.
    I felt thrown when I had a recall the day after a blood test, I eat low sugar. The surgery was extremely insistent on an appointment to retake in a month's time. I tried to postpone as I have a treatment so it was brought forward.
    Just getting there seemed like planning a trip to the moon, completely out of proportion!
    You are bound to get times when things are out of stoic balance.
     
  17. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    69,381
    Kent
    Thanks Alice.

    It makes it even more difficult for you when you struggle to get to appointments.
     
  18. northumbrian_k

    northumbrian_k Registered User

    Mar 2, 2017
    757
    Male
    Newcastle
    My wife is still capable of walking a long way but so many things intrude to stop either of us getting much pleasure out of it. Today was a beautiful sunny day for a walk. My wife was fine until we got into the city centre where she didn’t like all the people (although it was rather quiet). She walks behind me so - having lost her before - I had to keep checking that she was still there. A stop for coffee and cakes helped then we had a walk over her favourite High Level bridge. Unfortunately this now seemed to mean nothing to her. It was the usual routine on the metro, with my wife asking to get off at every stop and telling me off for imagined slights to the dog. As an outing, it was about as good as it gets.
     
  19. Grahamstown

    Grahamstown Registered User

    Jan 12, 2018
    1,336
    East of England
    So much has come out of all the comments and resonates with me. The mental health worries, the intellectual freeze, the house bound feelings, the inability to function as we did before, the weight gain problem, as well as the conflicting feelings of can’t live with him, can’t live without him. Today is a good example, I am up early as usual doing household tasks, I can’t go for my walk because I have sold our old sofa and buyer is supposed to collect. He gets up at 11am, can dress himself but starts putting his shoes on to go out, not sure where. This is abnormal because he usually wants tea and breakfast and wants me to get it all. Then we put our shoes on for a quarter mile potter with him complaining about his knee and me feeling guilty because I didn’t remember the knee guard and the stick. Then I get lunch and now he is back in bed. They couldn’t collect this morning because they overslept! Supposed to be coming now so goodness knows when I shall get a walk in. Respite from Tuesday for a couple of weeks but, and I quote, ‘I really like just being here with you and you getting everything for me and I don’t want to go without you, I can come with you.’ I can’t tell you how thankful I feel that I didn’t persevere and take him because he gets worse and worse every day now with more odd things happening.
     
  20. AliceA

    AliceA Registered User

    May 27, 2016
    2,359
    Mine would say the same if it comes up. So keep calm and carry on. X
     

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