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Not as dementia friendly as could be!

Discussion in 'Younger people with dementia and their carers' started by LynneMcV, Aug 9, 2015.

  1. LynneMcV

    LynneMcV Volunteer Moderator

    May 9, 2012
    south-east London
    Have you ever felt like you are banging your head against a brick wall?

    In the greater scheme, this isn't a major issue, but it's niggling away at me.

    For decades now my husband has collected his Saturday and Sunday papers from the little corner shop at the end of our road. He buys three papers both days.

    Over the last few months he has been getting into a muddle over what papers to buy. Sometimes he buys two of the same paper, sometimes he picks up extra papers which he never reads.

    About four weeks ago I accompanied him to the shop and asked if the papers could be put behind the counter each weekend for my husband to collect.

    Let's just say, there was a bit of a language barrier - and the shopkeeper really didn't seem to know what I meant.

    After much gesticulation and carefully worded sentences I thought we had cracked it. I wrote down the names of the papers for both days, provided husband's name. and the shopkeeper pinned the note up behind the counter and said he'd help.

    The following weekend my husband came back with the correct papers but had no recollection of them having been put aside. Last weekend, Saturday's papers were fine, but he was missing a Sunday paper.

    Yesterday he came home with the right papers but again, seemed confused about anyone having put them aside for him. Today, I went to the shop with him and found out for myself that the papers had not been set aside.

    When I asked why, I was told it couldn't be done (I think the guy simply didn't understand what I was asking so said "no"!)

    The shopkeeper said he had the list pinned up and he would help my husband by telling him what to get.

    Well, the guy obviously has no idea how dementia works - because getting my husband to stand in front of a sea of papers and verbally trying to direct him to the right ones is a mammoth task! (The shopkeeper won't come out from behind the counter to help, presumably for security reasons)

    I tried to explain my husband's difficulty in finding the right papers, but the shopkeeper didn't seem to really understand what I was asking/saying - and even looked a little hurt at one point as he insisted he would help my husband.

    I do appreciate that he is trying to help, there just seems to be a difference between what I'd like and what he is prepared to do.

    The ironic thing is, that up until 9 years ago, when the shop was under different management, and long before my husband had any signs of dementia kicking in, the papers were automatically kept behind the counter for him, without him even asking.

    I have a few options, none of which I want to take up at this point:

    • I could ask for the papers to be delivered but I don't want to go down that route yet. My husband is very mobile and enjoys his walk to the paper shop at weekends. It gets him out the house and he often has the opportunity to say hello to friends and neighbours.

      *I could walk to the shop with him - but again, it's not something I want to do yet. Being able to go to the shop and back on his own helps him maintain confidence and independence.

      *I could check with the 'rival' paper shop at the end of the road to see if they would put the papers aside for him - but even if they did, I don't think it would help my husband in the long run because he would become confused about which shop to go into (and he would also feel disloyal to the shop he has used so many years).

    I don't think there is much more to be done, other than let the situation continue with the shopkeeper helping my husband in the way he has been doing, and hoping my husband does not grow frustrated trying to find the right papers
  2. marionq

    marionq Registered User

    Apr 24, 2013
    Lynne this was one of the jobs my husband liked to do and I kept it going for the reasons you outlined. Then one day a few months ago he walked right past the paper shop and kept going. That was at 10 am and the police eventually found him at 8 pm!

    By all means keep him independent cause when it goes - it goes!
  3. LynneMcV

    LynneMcV Volunteer Moderator

    May 9, 2012
    south-east London
    Thanks Marion, yes it is scary sometimes just how quickly things can change. That must have been such a worrying experience for you.

    We'll continue focusing on the things that can be done, it's the only way forward really. I am already conscious that there are things we have done this summer which were a struggle, and unlikely to be on the cards this time next year - so I am just glad that we've done them while we can, and anything else next year will be a bonus.
  4. Canadian Joanne

    Canadian Joanne Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 8, 2005
    Toronto, Canada
    Would it be possible to find someone who speaks the same language as the shopkeeper to explain in detail what you need? Not just the practical bit, but how it is good for your husband.
  5. Suzanna1969

    Suzanna1969 Registered User

    Mar 28, 2015
    Yes, you often find there are sons or daughters who also work in these small shops, maybe at different times. If so perhaps you could go at a different time, explain the problem to them (and being younger they might be a bit more aware of Dementia issues) and they could relay what it is you need to the main chap.
  6. LynneMcV

    LynneMcV Volunteer Moderator

    May 9, 2012
    south-east London
    Thanks Joanna and Suzanna,

    Strangely enough, it is actually someone of the younger generation that I've been dealing with - probably mid to late 20s at most.

    I've only ever seen one other family member there - an older relative, possibly an uncle or father. Ironically the older one's English is very good and he ended up explaining something to the younger one for me on that occasion (I was trying to collect a tiny payout on the lottery at the time!)

    As I've only seen the older one once, I've a feeling he only makes sporadic visits, maybe to cash up the takings. It doesn't help that I work during the week, so I only really get a chance to go to the shop at the weekend.

    I do get occasional days free during the week though - I'll try to get down there at different times and see if I have any luck.

    Thanks for the suggestions :)
  7. LynneMcV

    LynneMcV Volunteer Moderator

    May 9, 2012
    south-east London
    Well, we may have had a breakthrough on this now.

    Yesterday I went down to the paper shop with my husband as he seemed a little in doubt over whether or not he would be able to find the right papers.

    As luck would have it, the older shopkeeper/relative was running the shop (we rarely see him). Anyway, he had seen the little note behind the counter about the papers my husband needed to collect each weekend, and asked what that was all about.

    I explained that I had been trying to get the younger chap to keep the papers behind the counter but that he'd said no, but hadn't really seemed to understand what I was asking.

    The older chap was really helpful and said it was no problem to put the papers aside for collection each week and that he would do so :)

    We tried it out this morning. I sent hubby down to the shop and he came home happy and relaxed with all papers and confirmed that they'd been put aside for him.

    I'm delighted because it removed anxiety from my husband's trip there and he enjoyed the walk and a chance to say hello to neighbours on his way there and back, without any worry.

    I've yet to see if the younger one has been made aware of the system yet, but at least it looks promising :)
  8. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    Fingers crossed
  9. nita

    nita Registered User

    Dec 30, 2011
    I had a Sunday paper put by for me at our local "corner shop" and they wanted me to pay a week in advance to insure themselves against me failing to pick it up. Could this be the problem with your shop?
  10. LynneMcV

    LynneMcV Volunteer Moderator

    May 9, 2012
    south-east London
    It's possible that the younger one might have had something like that going on in his mind, it's hard to say.

    The older chap today had no such problem, in fact he said that he was more than happy to do it because he knew my husband had been going down for the same papers for years.

    Come to think about it, I wonder if the older chap had given the younger one general instructions not to put papers behind the counter for people (as he is not often on the premises himself). It's possible that he made an exception for my husband once he realised who the request was for, and knew that we could be trusted to collect and pay for the papers.

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