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Thread: Dementia- How it effects my life

  1. #1

    Default Dementia- How it effects my life

    So my grandma is currently in a memory care unit of a nursing home. When I go to visit her, she doesn't recognize me. When I try to talk to her, she makes no sense, just says something that seems completely random. She has good days and bad days. On good days she recognizes my grandpa and sometimes me and my parents. On bad days she doesn't seem to recognize anyone. It upsets my parents and my grandpa more than it does me, but it is kinda sad.

    This Thanksgiving is when it really hit home to me that I was never going to have my grandma back the way she was for most of my life. Do any of you have any experience with dementia?

  2. #2

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    My next door neighbor is that way. Sometimes he recognizes his kids, sometimes not, even though they stop in several times a week. He usually recognizes my wife, me, not so much. He has a full time nurse/housekeeper. Kudos to his kids for arranging it so he hasn't had to leave the house he lived in for 50 years. At this point, its a question of whether he passes on before a nursing facility becomes physical necessity.

  3. #3

    Default

    My father, a college teacher, suffered from dementia in his eighties, which gradually advanced over a period of nearly ten years. He never became combative or suspicious but slowly lost his ability to read, follow a conversation, and express himself verbally or in writing. It was very sad, and most difficult for my mother who kept him at home until the end. I sometimes read poetry to him, things I knew he had enjoyed like Robert Frost, and tried to include him in conversations even after he stopped speaking. Good luck. Your Grandma will continue to know you love her. Just give her a hug.

  4. #4

    Default

    My grandfather is in the middle stages. Still knows who everyone is (though is starting to confuse the details and specific relationships), but is at the point where he needs someone with him all the time. Definitely a hard thing to go through for everyone, both emotionally and just practically and logistically. His has progressed rapidly (from seemingly normal to where he is now over the course of a year or so) so we've had to figure things out and adjust quickly. We went from being a little nervous about him driving to being a little nervous about him going to the downstairs bathroom over a period of months. Things seem to have leveled off, and the best anyone knows he could stay where he's at for 10 years or could decline rapidly at any moment, so you really can't plan or get overly comfortable with anything.

    He also has his good days and bad days. He can vividly remember stuff from his childhood and working years (better than I can of my own), but the last 30 or so years is really hazy, and his short term memory is basically gone. When his short term memory does kick in though, it's usually in the form of a misunderstood idea that's then almost impossible to get out of his head (I acquired a wife for awhile by showing him a picture of me at a friends wedding, and no amount of explanation could break that connection for the longest time (he'd understand it at the time, but then even just a day later he'd bring up "my" wedding again.. even now I'm not sure if he's so much grasped that I'm not married as either forgotten it or it just isn't at the forefront to come up in conversation). There's also certain recurring things he'll get very confused and frustrated about and certain concepts that just seem beyond his grasp now, while others he's perfectly fine with.

    What we tend to see is bits and pieces from his life just manifesting themselves in weird and broken ways.. I liken it to how when you dream your brain throws random things together and it kinda makes sense in the context of whatever you were thinking about but if you try to analyze it afterwards it's totally incomprehensible.. it seems almost like his mind is basically doing that while he's awake sometimes.

    One thing that's uncommon about his case is he's mostly aware of all this. He knows his mind is going. Actually (and there's probably a lesson in this), he recognized something wasn't right several years before it really started (or at least became apparent to anyone else, including his doctor). He has a good sense of humour about everything in general which helps, but he's becoming increasingly self conscious as it progresses.

    Like I said, definitely a sad thing, and not much you can really do about any of it. Our family has been making an effort to spend lots of time visiting to make the most of whatever time we've got left, and to give my Grandmother a break (she loves him and takes good care of him and all that, but no one can do that 24/7 and stay sane themselves).

  5. #5

    Default

    I was very close to my grandmother. She too developed dementia. I remember visiting her in the nursing home and she thought I was my father. I kept talking to her like I was my dad. I was weird and upsetting. I will always be close to her and sometimes I wonder if she isn't around to check up on me. Who knows what actually happens after we die. I do fondly hope that one day I will be with her and my parents, and that we'll be able to celebrate holidays again. I miss them.

  6. #6

    Default

    for me, it wasn't with my parents that i was exposed to the unsettling effects of degraded brain function or what is now said to generally be dementia.
    it was when caring for folks who suffered from HIV/AIDS in the mid 80's to early 90's that i noticed more than half of my friends ending up with ever increasing memory loss and brain dysfunction before the death that was inevitable in the early years of the disease. most of these folks having fallen ill in their 20's or 30's....

    of course it added another layer of complication to the care that we as care-givers were trying to provide. but too, i also saw in the faces of those who were sick, but who had not as yet felt any loss in memory a fear of what might befall them in the near future. in many it seemed to cause a denial that it could happen to them while at the same time creating an artificial rift between those who had memory loss/dysfunction, and those who didn't.

    in the end almost everyone who fell ill, died. there was little we could do to prolong life, only make life safer, easier and more comfortable. i often times felt useless in the face of the inevitable. that is until i would remember that if i could do nothing else, i could be with my friends in their last days. i knew that if i didn't like feeling alone, then likely as not, neither did any of the people that i cared for. i knew that i was alive and well and that i could do this one thing for my friends if nothing else. the one grace that i would want for myself when it's my turn to lie in my death-bed, regardless of my having the clearness of mind and or thought to know what was happening to me.
    i would not want to be left alone.....

    so in that moment of my feelings of helplessness for my friends, every time i would feel that helplessness which was very often in those years, my thought was this;
    there but for the grace of god go i.... and some day, there i will go with gods grace....
    Last edited by littlelodgewrecker; 14-Dec-2016 at 04:39.

  7. #7

    Default

    "So my grandma is currently in a memory care unit of a nursing home. When I go to visit her, she doesn't recognize me. When I try to talk to her, she makes no sense, just says something that seems completely random. She has good days and bad days. On good days she recognizes my grandpa and sometimes me and my parents. On bad days she doesn't seem to recognize anyone. It upsets my parents and my grandpa more than it does me, but it is kinda sad".

    Does she have age related dementia or an Alzheimer's diagnosis?

    It is sad, as what was there at one point, now isn't.

    Some of this sort of thing is part of people in general living longer.

    Our bodies may outlive our minds.

    In the 1900'w we died young from diseases we can now treat.

    All one can really do is be there for the person who is is front of you, with the presence (or lack of it) that they exhibit on a given day.

    Take any form of connection as a gift and don't underestimate what non verbal people understand.

    Sometimes stuff from the past can bring out some degree of the person who is not now who they used to be. Music they used to love or xyz that used to have strong meaning for them.

    Unlike some other cultures, we do not deal well with death and / or decline in North America. Other places see it as a part of life and a natural and expected thing.

    Here we have 'wrinkle cremes' and Photoshop.

  8. #8
    mikejames

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    Alzheimer's is a total bummer. Watched my grandmother slowly die from it. Honestly if I ever get diagnosed with it I'm going to quickly get all my affairs in order so my family will be ok and then I'm going to eat a bullet.

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