I haven’t written for a while and in a way thats a positive in its self. This blog was originally a way for me to process my thoughts and a way to off load. The other part was to document our family journey and provide an insight to what’s involved for caring for someone with Alzheimer’s.
So I find myself writing not to off load but to capture recent events and my coping strategy.
Mums health continues to fluctuate. We recently found out by chance that she was experiencing chest pains, following her mini heart attack in October. So we now have to think about diabetes, poor eyesight, UTI’s, salt levels, thyroid and her heart. It feels like we could open a pharmacy with the amount of tablets we have!
Mums memory and thought processes remain the most trying however and it’s these that generate the most frustration for us.
Days of the week – previously we thought we’d solved this challenge by making memory cards with the days of the week to help Mum know what day it is. This has worked for nearly a year but now Mum doesn’t believe the cards are correct, even though we change them every day. So the new solution is to simply agree with what ever day she thinks it is. Sounds cruel but it saves a silly argument.
We also seem to be experiencing more memories about her parents. Where are they, when’s my dad getting home from work, what’s his name again. Again strategy is basically to lie. Something suggested by the Alzheimer’s support person suggested. Rather than simply say they are dead, we deflect or tell a half truth. Where dad, he’s not here, not home right now and then move the conversation on.
We also get moments of clarity and joy. There is a TV series with Timothy West & Prunella Scales travelling along canals and rivers. The first week we watched it with Mum as they were on the Norfolk Broads and Mum recognised the places we had visited last year. At the end Prunella, who also has dementia summarised how the sound of water lapping on the bow of a boat was a joyous feeling. Mum had a massive smile on her face and just said “I know what she means and completely agree”.
The following week Tim and Prunella were in Europe travelling on a river to Salzburg.
Mum was watching for about 10 minutes and then perked up and said – “oh it’s that nice couple we met on holiday last year in the Norfolk Broads”
Moments of clarity but mostly confusion