For me, routine is so important. It gives me some normality to time. I’ve found dementia can strip away any concept of time.
For most people hunger may signal lunch time or tea time. But I don’t get those signals of time. I don’t feel hunger as I used to.Food is now just fuel. I’ve lost those comforting signals of time that the body used to provide.
Tiredness bears no relationship to the time of day.
Maybe that’s why I find comfort in the presence of a clock. A ticking clock can be really annoying to some but I find it comforting. I have a ticking clock in my living room and my landing. It’s presence fills the emptiness of total silence and reminds me to consider the time.
The presence of a clock means dementia can’t sweep me away into a time zone of uncertainty. I’m always constantly checking the time. Anyone can lose track of time but with dementia in tow it can play its cruel tricks and make it hard to work out the reality of time without the presence of a clock. Dementia can’t win if I have a clock nearby.
But I only like clocks with numbers on them. Those with lines where numbers should be only tell me half a story. What numbers are where? what’s missing? Time then becomes distorted and confused.
A simple clock with numbers is comforting for me. A 24 hour clock is even better, like the one beside my bed that tells me the day, the date as well as the time.
When I’m out for a trundle in town, I often sit in my Building Society because they have a clock. It’s provides stability, familiarity and comfort.
In the night with my sleep, wake, sleep, wake, pattern I can only guess the time from the sounds outside. I tap tap my fitbit to see the time, only to repeat the action a minute later. In my world of forgetting, time can mean nothing. A minute passing could be an hour.. Is it any wonder we can ask the same question over and over if we have no concept of time? That’s another advantage of living alone. I can work out the reality in my own time without the confusing signals from others trying to speed up my thoughts.
That could be another reason why hospitals are so confusing for people with dementia. The concept of time confused even more, as personal routine is disrupted. At night, waking to find nurses dressed in day time clothes. The same for Care Homes…….
If you have no concept of time and the visual clues no longer make sense, how distressing that must be……..?