My sister came round to visit in the afternoon. Mum asked where Laura (my niece) was. We explained that she was at home to which mum replied “Oh, I wondered ‘cos I’ve just seen a donkey go by.” Never did get to the bottom of that one.
Monthly Archives: December 2011
Today I have invited 2 of mum’s friends to call round for coffee and mince pies.
It’s a sad fact that as dementia develops, friends tend to keep their distance. They’re not being unkind, they just don’t know how to handle it. Mum had a close friend for several years whom she met regularly and went on holiday with several times. As soon as mum started with dementia, the friend distanced herself and has never been in touch since. I think it scares elderly people and reminds them it can happen to anyone. Anyway, Susan and Norah have agreed to come this morning.
I stay in to make coffee and set out some cakes and biscuits. Mum has recently become unable to make a decent cup of coffee although I have tried to re-teach her to no avail.
Then I go round to visit a friend for an hour and a half. They are still there when I return and everything seems to have gone ok. Norah invites Mum round to her house on New Year’s Day and I agree to take her.
When I speak to Norah later on the phone, I ask her how she found Mum. “She’s no longer the Kate we know and love.” was the sad reply.
Mum had odd socks on this morning so I said I’d go and find her some. We had a few family members at the flat and she told them all I’d gone to the bedroom to find better sex! Fat chance!
It is a bit of a family tradition to go to the local pub on Xmas Eve. When we told her we were going, she said she didn’t want us to. She hates being left alone. So my sister said “ Why don’t you come with us?”
I said, “Don’t ask her, she’d die if she came”, meaning it’s always so crowded and noisy.
To which she replied, “So why would you go to such a silly place where you could die?”
Later in the evening, we were watching Keith Lemon in Celebrity Juice Xmas Special. Mum remarked that he is a poisonous little man who should be taken off the air.
Apologies to Keith Lemon. He probably doesn’t expect his audience to include 85 year olds!
My daughter, Daisy, has come to stay again for the Xmas holidays. She has been working from home today, which involved several video conference calls. Mum couldn’t grasp this concept at all and kept thinking Daisy was talking to her so she was constantly trying to reply. Luckily, she went to the Day Centre at 10 a.m.
When she came home I had made a lovely beef stew in the slow cooker. Mum said it was strange but they had exactly the same thing for lunch today only it was much better! I think she meant it the other way round.
It’s hard to draw the line between helping mum and doing everything for her, to the point where she actually becomes lazy. She has stopped making coffee for herself as she did it wrong a couple of times. Now ‘nobody makes it as well as you’ seems to be the norm. So I took her into the kitchen and tried to show her how to make coffee. It’s the same with mealtimes. She normally eats from a folding TV table but she used to pour herself a small sherry and get the cutlery out for tea. Now I find myself doing it and am not sure whether she’s become too used to being waited on or has simply forgotten that she used to do it. Unfortunately it’s often easier to do something myself than to have it done wrong by mum.
Xmas has been an interesting subject this year. I have done all mum’s shopping as well as mine which has been no mean feat. Despite the fact that I’ve told her this and reassured her that she doesn’t have to worry about presents, she is continually making random and undecipherable “lists”.
I had promised to take mum shopping in town this morning. I’m taking her out less and less often but I really felt I should take her once before Xmas and I wanted her to get a couple of new jumpers for the winter. I told her I’d wake her at 8.30 so we could be out relatively early.
In the middle of the night I thought I heard some sounds from her bedroom but I couldn’t be sure and tried to get back to sleep. However eventually I noticed the hall light was showing round my door, so I got up. Every light in the flat was on and mum was sitting in her chair in the lounge fully dressed and filing her nails. It was 3.45! She looked up at me and said, “So what happened to 8.30?” as though I was up late. I told her the time and she said one of the clocks must be wrong. She often uses this excuse if she gets up at the wrong time but the truth is she is having difficulty telling the time. She can’t seem to tell that it’s the middle of the night even though it’s pitch black and there are no cars around or lights on.
The ironic thing is that when this happens, she goes straight back to sleep and I lie awake for hours!
We had a visit from a Community Psychiatric Nurse today. She has been sent following our recent visit to the GP after mum had a particular bad few days where she was complete disorientated and having hallucinations again. The hallucinations take the form of seeing and talking to invisible people in the flat. When questioned, she says she can’t actually see anyone but it’s more like a feeling she can’t explain!
The nurse is very pleasant but has to fill in the longest form and asks dozens of seemingly unrelated questions. Mum is in her element – she has always loved attention from the medical fraternity. Any hospital or GP appointment is treated like a day out to her. I often think she would have been quite successful at Munchausen’s Syndrome!
There are no magical answers. I am able to talk to the nurse quite easily without mum hearing or understanding as long as I talk quickly and quietly. I tell her about how mum doesn’t like me being out at night and especially after 10pm when she goes to bed. She says there are sitting services I can use – I’d love her to explain that one to mum! She asks mum if she enjoys her day at the Day Centre. Mum says yes she really likes it but when asked if she’d like to go another day, she flatly refuses. Sigh!
The nurse suggests various clubs and societies but unfortunately mum is not a joiner of this type of thing. I can’t complain as I’m not myself.
Finally, the nurse mentions something about Alzheimer’s. It’s like a red rag to a bull. For some reason mum knows she has dementia and can deal with this but if anyone calls it Alzheimer’s she freaks out. In her mind dementia is mild and maybe curable but Alzheimer’s is definitely not! So I ‘remind’ her that mum has several types of dementia and Alzheimer’s is only a small part of it. Mum asks outright if it is curable and she is very diplomatic in her answer saying that the symptoms are treatable and she may not deteriorate from her current state.
We also touched on the subject of mum’s occasional little accidents that are happening now and then. We are being referred to the incontinence clinic! Oh dear – it’s all getting a bit much suddenly.
A bad morning. Soon after mum got up, she came to find me to ask how to fill the kettle. That’s a first! I had to show her how to take the kettle to the cold tap but then she couldn’t turn on the tap. When we had successfully put the kettle on, I reminded her that she doesn’t normally have a hot drink with breakfast!
We had a visit to the dentist this afternoon. Mum doesn’t let me go in with her – one of her last stands of independence. She is delighted to walk back into the waiting room on the arm of her young, handsome dentist!
Her hairdresser calls tomorrow morning and I have put a card and present ready for her. We have had at least half a dozen discussions about this then just as mum is going to bed, she comes over to me and says ‘Before I forget, have I got a present for the hairdresser?’ Aaaaaagh!
It’s definitely not been a good day but has been interspersed with funny moments. At one point after talking gobbledegook for a while, she told me not to worry. She had reached the zenith of stupidity!