Some people ask me ‘why do you always have your haversack, why not a handbag for every occasion’? My response is usually ‘why not?’
Actually the reason is far more complex than that. Remember, this is my experience of dementia, so this is my reasoning and others may think differently.
The more I adapt to having Alzheimer’s, the more I recognise the need for familiarity, consistency and routine.
My haversack is a constant – I feel safe and secure in the knowledge that everything I may need is in my haversack. It bizarrely makes me feel safe. I don’t care whether it ‘goes’ with the occasion or matches – I feel safe. If I suddenly had to transfer everything each time I wanted a different bag to match the occasion I would feel panic – so I don’t. Since I had a stroke, I’ve also developed a ‘wobble’ and legs and brain sometimes forget to talk to one another so I fall over or stumble. Knowing I have my haversack on my back also means my back will have a cushion to land on…so I don’t worry about falling over, which in turn makes it less likely:) – win, win.
I get over this issue with coats by having the same things in all the pockets – it’s a ‘comfort’ thing I suppose. I know that each coat pocket carries the same thing so I don’t have the same concern about wearing coats.
It’s important that things aren’t moved around my haversack but it also applies to the house or office – if they’re not where they should be they no longer exist………
At work, if someone moves things around on my desk I become disorientated and feel confused – sounds extreme, I know, but it’s just how it is. Someone once used my desk and put all my things in a pile. I spent the next day putting everything back in its place and ‘rediscovering’ them – if post it’s are moved, they no longer exist and don’t get actioned – not good at work! I’ve moved offices this week to make way for the trainee ‘gurus’ – havn’t gone into the wrong room …………..yet………………
As I said at the beginning, this is my experience – if you know someone with dementia in their life and are unsure of their needs, ask or observe them to find out what makes them feel secure.