Social distancing

Don6740

New member
Apr 30, 2020
6
My wife has Alzheimer's but won't admit it. After lunch she likes to go for a walk, which can last up to two hours. I go with her, of course, and do my best to ensure that she stays a good distance from other walkers and cyclists, but she likes to chat to people, especially those with small children or dogs. I explain over and over again the need to keep two metres away and she does sometimes say she will, but then she appears to forget and if I take her arm and try to steer her away from other she gets angry. One day last week on a narrow pavement where we had to walk in single file a young woman had to quickly pick up her small daughter and step into the road to let my wife past. On another occasion in a park she went right up to someone for a chat just after I had reminded her to keep two metres away and afterwards when I said that wasn't two metres she insisted it was. It has made me wonder whether the problem is not entirely forgetfulness or even disbelief in the need for social distancing, but a problem with spatial awareness.
 

Izzy

Volunteer Moderator
Aug 31, 2003
63,058
69
Dundee
Hi @Don6740 and welcome to the forum.

It must be incredibly difficult for you in this climate of social distancing. I do think that you are probably right in relation to the problem involving a difficulty with spatial awareness as well as her forgetting.

I’m glad you’ve found this forum and am sure you’ll get lots of help and support here.
 

karaokePete

Registered User
Jul 23, 2017
5,652
N Ireland
Hello and welcome from me too @Don6740.

This is a problem I too have with my wife. Unfortunately one of the parts of the brain that can suffer early on is the area where short term memory is formed and that means that the person doesn't 'forget' but actually can't remember new information in the first place(eg., every time they ask those repeated questions is the first time of asking to them).

My solution to this is to take my wife walking at quiet times in places with plenty of room so that I can gently steer away from people before we get near them. When I do the food shopping I go alone because it would just be impossible to observe the rules with my wife in tow. It's very hard.
 

None the Wiser

Registered User
Feb 3, 2020
121
Hello @Don6740,
You have written exactly how it is for me too when we go out for our daily walk. It’s changed our daily walk from one of the few pleasurable things left to share, into a bit of a nightmare. I was driven to write on our local Facebook to explain to others why he just won’t keep his distance. I had many hundreds of replies from people saying how pleased they were that I had posted about the problem as they had no idea that some people would not understand social distancing. It was also forwarded many times. People were extremely kind and I don’t feel quite so bad now when we go out, though it’s still tricky!
 

Don6740

New member
Apr 30, 2020
6
Hello and welcome from me too @Don6740.

This is a problem I too have with my wife. Unfortunately one of the parts of the brain that can suffer early on is the area where short term memory is formed and that means that the person doesn't 'forget' but actually can't remember new information in the first place(eg., every time they ask those repeated questions is the first time of asking to them).

My solution to this is to take my wife walking at quiet times in places with plenty of room so that I can gently steer away from people before we get near them. When I do the food shopping I go alone because it would just be impossible to observe the rules with my wife in tow. It's very hard.
 

Don6740

New member
Apr 30, 2020
6
Thank you for your comments karaoke Pete. I too prefer to go shopping on my own for the same reason, but when I do I worry that my wife might go for a walk while I am not there.
 

Thethirdmrsc

Registered User
Apr 4, 2018
225
One of my husbands small “pleasures” was walking to our local shop about a minute from our door, although he couldn’t always remember how to get there. But I can’t let him go on his own, as he just doesn’t understand these times, and every day I have to remind him why we can’t go out, why I have skip rubbish building up, why there is no traffic, and why we have a camper van on our drive “going to waste” !
 

Debs42

Registered User
Jan 27, 2013
33
Hi everyone, I have very similar problems with my husband. We go for a walk each day, and although I explain social distancing and he seems to get it, he still tends to drift towards other people rather than away from them, and as someone else has said, gets very angry if I try to steer him away. It does make the daily walk a bit stressful. I try to avoid the busy places as much as possible, and we are lucky in that we live in a rural area, so have the option of walking across fields. However, the problem there, is that, despite always having been very physically fit, he now finds it quite difficult to get over stiles. Its partly physical and partly that he cant quite work out where to put his feet.
One thing to think about is to describe the distance required as 6 feet rather than 2 metres, as older people will understand imperial measures better than metric.
I havent yet dared to take him shopping and am worried that after such a long time it will be quite difficult to reintroduce him to the outside world.
Thanks to the person who suggested posting something on the local Facebook page - great idea. Also, what about getting a sunflower lanyard, so that people you pass may recognise that your parther has hidden disabilities?
 

Thethirdmrsc

Registered User
Apr 4, 2018
225
What a good idea, I have never heard of that before, but will look out for it. We can’t do walks through trees or by the river, as the OH doesn’t look down at his feet to see where roots or branches are, so lots of trip hazards. We tend to stick to normal paths. Mobility is diminishing.