I have not posted for some time. Mainly because I have not felt the need to. We continue the roller-coaster that is caring for someone with dementia and I guess we are getting better at absorbing the low points.
The other day was particularly frustrating however and we seem to be in a funny place at the moment. Could be the heat, could be the next stage of dementia, could be water infection or who knows what. The frustration stems from daily conflicts between us. We try to keep things simple and consistent for mum with the focus on keeping her safe and healthy. However this becomes trying when she does not always co-operate or her mind is playing games.
The following is a fairly accurate word for word conversation mum and I had the other day. We have these on a daily basis, often along the same subject and often with no conclusion.
“Hi Mum how are you?”
“Hi Mum, you ok?”
“Yeah I’m ok.”
“Where’s your water?”
“Well it should be here, hold on… oh um the chap that called in, he took it.”
Now I’m starting to worry. Buglers, muggers etc all happily let into the house probably.
“The one that was here this afternoon.”
“Ok, I’m pretty sure no one was here.”
“Yes they were.” “Well if there wasn’t anyone I must have put it in the kitchen when I went out”.
“Went out! Where have you been. You know you should not as you can’t walk very well unaided. Didn’t you see the signs on the front door saying don’t go out?”
“Yes, I ignored them. I went out and down the road.”
So further panic and I check the Ring.com front door bell camera to see who has called and if mum went for a walk. Luckily neither event had happened.
“Mum you haven’t been out and no ones called in. Don’t worry about it, just get your water cup from the kitchen and drink some as you haven’t drunk all afternoon and it’s very hot.”
Mum gets up and makes her way into the kitchen. 2 mins later comes back, no water.
“Mum what did you go into the kitchen for?”
Silence but she continues to walk to her chair in the lounge.
“Mum what did you go to get from the kitchen?”
Silence, starts to sit down
“Mum don’t sit down, you’ll only need to get up again.”
Mum where’s your water?”
“In the kitchen.”
“Ok so you need to get it and drink it.”
5 mins later after getting her water cup and sitting back down, mum gets up again and goes to the loo. After a while I hear the stair lift coming down.
“Mum come into the kitchen so I can cut your nails over the sink.”
Mum walks slowly into the kitchen.
“Mum have you got a pad on?”
“Of course I have.”
“Ok I’ll check, …no you haven’t so you need to go back up and put one on.”
10 mins later she comes back down. As she walks back in to kitchen –
“The electrician that was here this week, has he finished?”
“Mum the electrician was here about 6 months ago.”
“No he wasn’t, he was here a couple of days ago.”
“Two days ago was Sunday and he was here in February, it’s now July.”
“Is it Tuesday then, not Thursday?”
“No Mum, what do the day cards say?”
“So what day is it?”
“Well I thought it was Thursday.”
Sorry that a convoluted conversation isn’t that interesting to read, or funny or entertaining but this is the reality of caring for someone with Dementia.
Dementia is not just a memory issues, it’s a brain processing issue. Logic and reason don’t exist as you and I see it. A normally functioning brain will process things automatically. We do things with out thinking necessarily about them. You do and say things with out a thought as it’s just instinct. Dementia seems to stop this automatic process.
Well that’s how I see it in Mum.
With an ageing population more and more of us will end up like this. Look around your family and friends. 1 in 10 of us by the age of 65 will get it. If we are lucky enough to get to 85, 1 in 6 of us will get it.
Be nice to your children! They will end up dealing with it one way or the other.