The lonely days of dementia

March 8, 2014

I often wonder what goes on in her head? What she's thinking, remembering or if its just like static on a television... a sort of silence?

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She doesn't say much when you are with her, except for thank you, repeating it so many times I lose count. Or how nice the day is, with her equivalent of nice being the sun is out despite the 20 degree temp. The same can be said on days when she bought lunch where she's forgotten and thanks me... repeatedly!

Oh how I try to have patience, and while most times I do, I cringe when I hear myself saying, "Mom, I just told you that, remember", knowing full well she doesn't. Maybe its a little piece of denial or just trying to cope, but I know I do this everytime we are together.

She and Deb bumped heads before Debbie had surgery, and its even worse now since Deb still remembers the frustration she had with my mom and my mother doesn't remember that Debbie had a brain tumor removed.

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Recently when we all joined together to support Debbie through her radiation treatments I came out to find she and Deb bickering. Deb doesn't understand that she doesn't drive anymore and why she can't do anything for herself, and my mother gets defensive. Often raising her voice or throwing down her purse in frustration when she can't find the words she needs to describe the situation. 

In one conversation I had to raise my voice to get her to stop and said "mom, Debbie had brain surgery", to which she replied... "well, I didn't know"

and then I'm back to square one...

She's been through a lot in her life, with an abusive childhood, losing two sons, her husband, younger brother, nephew and grandson, which I know has a lot to do with the person she's become.

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Right now she is is definitely in mid stage dementia. Some examples of problems seen here are:

  • Patients may get lost in familiar places
  • They may not be able to understand things or may not pay attention to things around them
  • They may be unable to learn new things, such as how to operate a new device or learn a new subject
  • They may not be able to do arithmetic or count
  • Cooking, shopping, banking become problems, and they cannot handle these themselves
  • They could be prone to delusions, visual hallucinations, agitation, and aggression
  • At times, they may seem restless, anxious, or depressed
  • Personal hygiene may be poor
  • Activities of daily living become problematic. They may find it difficult to wear their clothes, brush their teeth, comb, and have their bath. They may need help for most of these.
  • They may look confused when seeing or trying to use common, familiar objects
  • They may just lose interest in everything
  • They may be abusive and violent and could harm themselves or others
  • They may show distinctly odd and inapporpriate social behavior

We all know the end result of Dementia as there is no cure, and while she doesn't realize what is happening to her, it sure is hard to watch!

 

 

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