I thought I'd summarise all the improvements in S's condition since her dramatic decline in the autumn, and list the things that could have helped to produce the improvement. There's absolutely no doubt that there has been a dramatic improvement - everyone who sees her now, including 'professionals', comments on the visible, and obvious, signs. She still has some days when things aren't as good as usual - she can still have sudden outbursts of aggression or sobbing, caused by frustration, but are very much briefer than they were during the worst times.
In no particular order of significance:
1) It's now possible to get S's more or less immediate attention when I need to. Even when she's very agitated and distracted, if I wait a minute or so and try again, we're usually successful.
2) Food and drink are hardly an issue now. When S lost so much weight - she was well below 8 stone and it was still falling - my attempts to get her to eat and drink dominated our days and caused great stress to us both. Now she has regained most of the weight she lost and has a good appetite. I no longer have to worry at all about nutrition.
3) At the depth of the autumn decline it was incredibly hard to get S into the bath. She hated it and seemed to have no idea how to get in or out. Two of us had to more or less lift her in and out - with little or no co-operation from her. Now I help her bathe almost every day. She steps in and out, just holding my hand and/or the wash basin for support. I think she gets to her feet from a sitting position more easily than I do! And I'm a pretty fit 67 year old!
4) Previously when I handed her her glasses she would often grab my hand rather than the glasses. She rarely does now. Similarly, when she got into bed it was very hard to get her head on the pillow - she would end up too high or too low in the bed and I would have to physically move her up or down, something she often resisted. Now she either gets it right first time or responds to instructions to move up or down without protest.
5) During the bad spell, she frequently referred to herself in the third person. I found this quite disturbing. She doesn't do this now.
6) S will now sit calm and still for longish periods, even when nothing much is happening.
7) She used to be incredibly sensitive to touch and would complain 'that hurts' almost whenever you touched her. She is still more sensitive than she used to be, but not nearly as sensitive as she was during the bad spell.
8) Radio and TV programmes will grab her attention, sometimes briefly but often for longer. She will often comment appropriately about something on the news. She follows many of the jokes on '10 o'clock Live'.
She never quite lost this in the autumn but it's become a lot more common now.
9) She is far more aware of other people, and will greet them appropriately and respond when they speak to her. She went through a period when she completely ignored other people.
I've probably missed a few of the improvements and will continue to revisit this topic as appropriate.
The things that may have helped to bring about these improvements probably warrant a separate post.