How does dementia look

January 9, 2014

Like a brain injury, dementia is usually not something you can see on the outside, unless of course you are aware of its existence...

My mother was diagnosed with early onset dementia a few years ago and is rapidly declining. The decline is easily spotted by most that know her.

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Before she was diagnosed she went through a phase of anger, that has worsened today. But back then she was angry at friends, would lash out and did a lot of crying that we couldn't figure out what had set off?

She does those things today more often, but we now understand a bit more behind the story. She came over recently, here before I returned home. My son was here, though in his room and she sat in the family room and cried until I got home. I came through the door and asked why she was crying. She claimed my brother left her at my house with no purse no luggage and no money. At first I was like "why was he in such a hurry?" But then decided to text him and ask.  

His reply "look in your dining room"

Sure enough, when I looked in the dining room I found her purse, luggage and money as well as pj's and everything she needed for overnight. But she does not remember any of it?

Like Debbie recovering from her brain surgery, they both believe there is always a party going on that someone didn't invite them to. My mother continued to repeat during most of the evening that Rob dropped her off because he was having a party he didn't want her at. Exhaustingly I repeated, I asked for you to come over, it is Monday,  and he is not having a party, within a few minutes she would repeat the same thing again, until I finally gave up.

Many words are lost too, she will create her own, especially when she is angry and it can be both sad and funny. The humor, something to lighten the moment is something I sometimes cringe about, feeling sorry for her and I guess feeling sorry for myself, as I no longer have the mother I once knew.  

Recently I had her over to do some crafts, something she was always loved to do. A simple Valentine card kit, what could be easier. Making the first one for her as a sample, I let her create from there, helping her along the way. Near the end I was working on a project of my own and it wasn't until the next morning that I found the cards and noticed the drastic difference. Even having a sample, she would forget to look at it and forgot how to make the card... 

It is a long draining day to spend with someone with dementia and a cruel disease for the person who is suffering from it! 

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