Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Uncharted Waters

(L)mom is the younger child in the picture (taken around 1930-32)
Mom would have been about 6 years old. (R) 86 years old in 2012

The journey we are now taking with Mom,is, indeed, uncharted waters for us. We have heard the many stories of others, for years, but until you're actually, going through the process yourself, it is all so hard to grasp.Now we are seeing and experiencing first hand the trials one goes through on a day to day basis with a parent suffering with Alzheimer's.No two days are the same. It is almost impossible to predict how each day will go. Some days, she is her normal self.As normal as an 86 year old can be. There are so many facets of life that change simply through aging, and most of us are aware of those changes, but the changes that come with Alzheimer's can be totally different and new to the caregivers.Right now the big things we are having to deal with is her mood swings and her short term memory.. She can be perfectly fine one minute, then crying her eyes out, the next, not really knowing why.It seems,at times, this might be triggered, to a point, when she misplaces something that she uses on a regular basis. The only thing we can do to comfort her is to go and be by her side and help her find what she has lost, then reassure her that we all loose things at times. It's no big deal.Don't worry so,about it. We will help you find it and life will go on,but she starts to dwell on the fact that she is loosing her mind and we will probably put her in a home where they keep the patients sedated,put a diaper on them, and don't attend to their needs when necessary.We visited a friend of hers a few times, and it seemed to Mom,that that was the way they were treating her. It seems the presence of some one being there with Mom, lessens her discomfort.The neurologist had said he thought a lot of her problem stemmed from loneliness.With nine children and thirty nine grand children, at last count,there should be no way she should be lonely,but life happens and both children and grandchildren get busy with their own lives, forgetting that they even have a Mother or Grandmother.Those of us who do work with Mom, do what we can to keep her life and our own, running as close to normal as humanly possible.We know it is rough and it will only get worse as time goes by, but we have vowed to care for our Mother to the best of our abilities.

I researched the saying Once a Man Twice a Child and this is what I found under

[This also should include women. ONCE A MAN TWICE A CHILD means we are born as children, come into adulthood and man leads a hopefully good and strong life and works hard, but, old age sneaks up and before death the man becomes a child again (either in a nursing home where he is cared for like a baby) or loses his place in the ranks of society. Thus "twice a child."]

I try to visit her at least once or twice a week and more if she needs me to be there. On occasion, I will bring her home with me,then at times, I will spend the night with her.I know she'd rather be in her own home 24/7, but she still has sound enough mind to know that we have family,etc. back at our home that need our care, too. So far, she still has the ability to call one of us, any time of the day or night, when she needs our help. In most cases, it's the time she is confused about. She has no concept of time, and since she sleeps a lot throughout the day, she awakens and fears she has missed taking her medicines.Her eye sight is very poor,and she even has trouble reading the new atomic clock I bought for her,thinking that would help.For now, the phone is a great help, but I am sure the day will come, and not so far in the future, that she will not be able to do even that. We will have to be with her around the clock.We are gradually setting things in motion that will help us to be better prepared when that day comes.
With His help, we will get through this,too.

1 comment:

  1. its a hard road ahead thats for sure sue. one of my caregiver friends who looked after a man with alz. said you just have to "play the game" and i learning to do that with the lady im looking after. I think of it like im in a theatre production and we put on our costumes and act out. when i leave her house, i hang up the costume and put on my own persona again, keeping it separate otherwise id get to frustrated. It takes 7 minutes, yes precisely 7 mins every day from the time i think im going to get out the door till when i actually get in my car. sometimes its going over which button to press on the microwave to reheat her dinner or how to lock the door behind me, you have to find humour in it to cope. Remember to look after yourself too :) xx