Journey Through Dementia

Journey Through Dementia

Monday, December 11, 2017

Sleeping Beauty

Another step down for my mother yesterday. I went to deliver Depends and bring her a box of chocolates. She was sleeping, so I just settled in and waited to see if she would wake up. When she did she was *totally* out of it, mumbling constantly but I couldn't understand anything she said. She went to the bathroom, then came back in, sat on the bed and mumbled some more, then climbed back into bed to go back to sleep. I somehow think she never really woke up at all.

When I could understand her mumbling, she was wondering where here sister Betsy was and where her mother was.  I think that she spends all of her waking time and dream time thinking of her family, whom she misses so much.

On the "good news" front, they found her glasses, which have been missing for a week.  They said they were "in her room," but nobody knows where.  I had searched the room pretty thoroughly, so I'm impressed that they found them.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Big Blob

As good and as "with it" as my mother was the last time I saw here was as vague and out of it as she was yesterday. She actually got angry with me because she thought I was just a "big blob" who was sitting on her daughter, hiding her and she wanted to see her daughter. When I told her *I* was her daughter, she said I was not, but she didn't know who I was. She finally got up and got into bed, so I left. Gawd, I hate dementia.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Klonopin

What a difference a little bit of Klonopin makes. She's more "normal" today than she has been in weeks.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Exciting Things

I took a piece of our big apple pie to my mother in the afternoon.  I was so pleased that I finally had something "exciting" to tell her about.  The first thing she asks me every time I come to visit is "so what have you been doing exciting that you haven't told me about?"


I told her about our trip, showed her the pictures from Apple Hill, tried to be entertaining (she kept asking me what country it was in) and told her I had brought her a piece of the apple pie we had bought.

When I finished and went back to the chair to sit down, she said "so what have you been doing exciting that you haven't told me about?"

Sigh.

She "found" the container with the pie in it several times while I was there and I'm 99% sure she will never eat it, but I feel good about including her in all the "excitement" anyway, even if she didn't have a clue what I was talking about.

I talked with one of the aids, with Jen, who runs the memory unit, and with her doctor and we have all decided it's time to put her on anti anxiety meds, so she will be starting low dose Prozac soon. 

Maybe she can finally forget that "something is wrong."

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Something's Wrong

They called at 9 a.m. (I hadn't even finished my coffee) and said that my mother was very agitated and they needed me to calm her down.  So I took my coffee with me, skipped breakfast and went to Atria.  (I was pleased to find that her clothes were no longer on her bed or on the chair)

She was agitated and confused, but not really worse than she has been on a bad day before.  I think they were concerned because she wanted to call her mother--she always wants to call her mother.  (Isn't it time her family all return and take her home to live with them--she misses them so much!)

The spiel is the same "something's wrong and I can't figure out what it is." or "I know I'm supposed to be doing something but I don't know what it is."  I've heard this every time for the 4-1/2 years she's been at Atria. 

We were in the community room and she decided to go outside to see if she could figure it out there.  We walked the distance of the garden and then into the little sitting room, where she told me over and over and over and over that she didn't know what was wrong, that people were not doing what they were supposed to do but if she tried to do "it" they'd tell her to leave "it" alone.  When I asked what "it' was she couldn't remember.  All she knew was the people weren't doing their job and that they wouldn't let her help.

I distracted her by showing her pictures in my phone.  It always brings me to tears because I can show her 3 pictures of Lacie -- her great granddaughter -- in a row and at each picture she will ask who that "cute girl" is and when I say "It's your great granddaughter," she has no reaction except to say she's never met her.  I remember how excited she was when Brianna was born, 9 years ago, and now she has no connection with either her or her sister.

Finally she went out to the garden again and we walked down to the community room and I asked if she wanted to go in and watch TV again.  Only when we went in, they were doing cardio exercises, so I started doing them too (they are all done sitting down) and, seeing me participating, my mother did too, though never fully committing herself (instead of raising her arm all the way up, just half way up, etc.

After half an hour of exercise, the aide turned on Lawrence Welk (and I felt very old!).  My mother seemed to have settled down and I had work to do at home, so I left and told her I would see her tomorrow (which I probably won't).  I left without incident and there have been no further calls, so hold the good thought!

Friday, November 3, 2017

Laundry


I spent an hour and a half with her, having brought her a bag of Lindt chocolates (the red bag on the left).  Her laundry has been mounting on the guest chair and I suggested she move it to the bed (which was a command too complicated for her to understand, but she finally got it).

So the entire hour and a half she would turn to her right and ask what the red bag was or where the "garbage" (chocolate wrappers) had come from, so I would explain and then she'd look to her left and ask where all those clothes came from.  Her response to explanation was either that they didn't belong to her and she couldn't hang them up because the real owner would get angry with her or that "tomorrow" she was going to "take the day off" and deal with the clothes. 

At one point when I showed her a photo of herself WEARING one of the jackets she's never seen before she never even looked at the jacket because she was so upset at how SHE looked.  

I offered several time to hang the clothes up for her but she didn't want me to touch them because she had to sort through them and decide which ones she was going to throw away.

When I left Atria, I talked with one of the aides and suggested that they wait until she is at dinner and is not in her room and then hang the clothes up for her.  I suspect she has been telling them not to hang them up because she wants to do it herself.

When I left her room, I gathered up all the candy wrappers and put them in the now empty bag an she was upset that I hadn't asked her if she wanted to keep any of those stuff or not.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Halloween for Old Folks

This is the decoration outside the door to the Memory Care Unit at Atria:


I found macabre humor in the idea of skeletons hanging on this particular wing of Atria, where everyone is--let's be honest--waiting to die.

I did take exception to the scarecrow sitting in the chair across from this display.


She's sitting in the chair where I sit while waiting for someone to come and let me into the locked unit.  Harumph.

There are a few skeletons and pumpkins hanging along the halls, but I suspect nobody knows what day it is and has no concept of Halloween.  I know my mother didn't, when I went to see her yesterday.

I hadn't seen her in almost a week but fortunately she didn't realize that.  I told her about my fall and how my back hurt too much to walk the long walk down to the Memory Care unit (the back is fine now, by the way) and she was solicitous, which interrupted any feelings she might have had about my not being there in such a long time.

The visit was back to the usual discussion of age, how old she is, she can't be that old, etc. She asked me what I had been doing with "Mom" lately.  She misses her mother so much and occasionally thinks she sees her, though it's not in a hallucination sort of way, but more when she is asleep.  Of all the relatives who have gone before her, her mother is the one she most wants to see again.  She never mentions her father.

She talked about how many activities there were to do at Atria and smugly and proudly let me know that she never participated in ANY of them.  That always makes me sad, knowing how many opportunities she missed since she moved to Atria.  She wouldn't even go to the theater to see a movie, she was so uncomfortable, afraid she would do something wrong--and this was when she had it all together mentally!

I remember how involved she was in so many things when she lived alone.  Her calendar had an activity for every day of the week, it seemed.  Lunches, fashion shows, meetings, volunteer work.  But she lived in the mobile home park for a long time -- maybe 20 years? -- and never participated in any of the many activities there and refused to get to know her neighbors, so maybe this isn't so much a dementia/Alzheimers thing as it is a personality thing.  Still it seems a shame that she never took advantage of anything she was paying big bucks to have available to her!