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Six Weeks Later

Well, it took a while but I’ve finally got some more help from Social Services.

I have a Carer coming in 4 mornings a week to wash or bath Mum and then help her get dressed.  It’s such a great help as Mum is finding getting dressed and undressed increasingly difficult and rarely takes advice or help from me, whereas she will do whatever the Carer asks.  I was also becoming concerned about her personal hygiene as she would tell me she’d had a wash when I knew she hadn’t.  It has made things much easier.

She is also going to the Day Centre for a third day…….and hasn’t even realised it!  That extra day to myself makes such a difference.

And finally I have arranged some Respite Care.  I was very anxious about this step but I have today been to visit the Respite Centre appropriate to Mum’s needs and I was so pleasantly surprised.  It’s a new purpose built unit that just takes 6 people but there is also a Day Centre so the clients can attend the Centre if they wish.  I had a full tour and was absolutely delighted with everything,

I have booked Mum in for 2 weeks next February and now feel alot happier about it.  I know it won’t be easy to actually take her and leave her there but I feel quite confident that I’ve done the best I can.

On the medical side, we took Mum for a check-up at the Memory Clinic 6 weeks ago and the doctors increased her anti-psychotic medicine but I can’t say I’ve noticed any difference.  We’re going back tomorrow so it will be interesting to see what they try this time.

Mum continues to decline slowly but surely.  She has some rather suspect toileting habits but luckily is still continent.  She has other odd habits like constantly tidying up the table beside her chair, putting away her belongings in the entirely wrong place like shoes in the bin and the other day I found a side-plate in the toast rack.  All fairly normal dementia behaviour, I understand.

The crying continues and an increase in anti-depressants doesn’t seem to have helped this at all.

One of the worst symptoms is her increasing inability to understand what people are saying to her.  It’s not that she can’t hear, she just can’t seem to compute.  I sometimes have to resort to simple miming actions to make her understand.

On the good side, she’s currently sleeping soundly at night but I expect the disturbed nights to return at any time.  They seem to happen in cycles.

Also on the good side, we don’t take her out too often now but I took her on a short run to see the sea yesterday.  We got out of the car on the prom and the tide was so high it was splashing over the wall.  I’ve not seen her so animated for ages – she’s always loved the sea.

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Posted by on November 19, 2012 in Diary

 

Mum had a home visit by the GP 10 days ago.  I was quite anxious as she seemed to have got alot worse and her breathing seemed laboured.  It turned out she had both a water infection and a slight chest infection.  The GP has re-referred us back to the Mental Health Assessment Centre and we have an appointment tomorrow.  The GP wants to start Mum on anti-psychotic drugs but we have to see a Mental Health specialist before these can be prescribed.

I have also been in touch with Social Services to see if Mum can attend the Day Centre for a third day and to find out details about how to arrange respite care.  Respite seems a scary step to take but I think will become necessary very soon.   As usual Social Services are taking their time to get back to me!

On a better note, I gave Mum her Lorazapam tablet a bit late one evening by accident and she slept like a log.  I told the GP about this and she said as it hadn’t worked to settle her in the evening, just carry on using it to help her sleep.  So at least I am getting a better sleep again.

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2012 in Diary

 

Time Flies

Another two weeks have passed already.  Mum seems to be declining more rapidly lately which is causing us much worry.

I contacted the GP again about the anti-depressants because Mum is still crying on and off but she reassured me that they can take ages to kick in.  Meanwhile, she has prescribed Lorazapam for restless evenings. The evenings are the worst time of day (usually starting at 7.30)  Mum gets up from her chair and starts to go somewhere but she doesn’t know where she wants to go.  Then she sits again and starts crying.  She says such heartbreaking things as “I keep thinking I’ll wake up tomorrow and everything will be back to normal”.  The getting up and down cycle continues roughly every 15 minutes until she goes to bed.

I’m not altogether happy with this drug as it seems to be making mum totally incoherent in the evenings and she can barely get up off her chair.  However, I will go along with it until I have to speak the GP again in a few days.

Mum has become more difficult in the night again – I knew it was only a matter of time!  The problem this time is that she gets up and is disorientated.  Can’t find the bathroom, then can’t find her bedroom or thinks she’s gone to the wrong bedroom.  So I’m disturbed every time she gets up – 4 times last night.  I daren’t take a sleeping pill or wear earplugs in case she falls.

She’s also finding it difficult to dress and undress herself properly.  She will disappear into her bedroom to get ready for bed and come back out wearing a new set of clothes.  She also rarely puts on matching socks even though they are put away in her drawer in pairs.

One newish symptom is that she can’t seem to understand what you say to her, even when she can hear you.  It’s as though she can’t compute the sound she’s hearing together with what your lips are saying.  The other day she had a fairly reasonable telephone conversation with her sister but as soon as she put down the phone and I started to talk, she just hadn’t got a clue what I was saying.  Very frustrating…….for all of us.

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2012 in Diary

 

Worsening Symptoms

Mum’s episodes of crying have increased to such an extent that I had a telephone consultation with the GP (locum!) and she has doubled the anti-depressant dosage.  Mum has been on this new amount for a week now but to be honest I don’t think there’s any change.

She has definitely deteriorated over the past few weeks as regards her ability to perform simple tasks, particularly when she is tired or upset.  She keeps telling me the toaster has broken because she often forgets how to use it.  Similarly with making a cup-a-soup for her lunch – I once found soup actually in the kettle!   I may have mentioned how she has picked up her knife and fork to eat her dinner before it’s actually there, well the other day I heard a terrible grating noise and she was doing her best to carve through the TV table.  I wonder what it looked like to her?   She is also having alot of trouble getting undressed for bed – takes things off and back on several times – all the while getting quite bad-tempered.

She continues to hate the Day Centre and behaves like a small child who doesn’t want to go to school on the two mornings she attends.  Then when she comes home she tells me about the dreadful day she has had!

The confusion with the TV has also worsened and she frequently becomes caught up in a particular storyline, thinking she is taking part.  She has (in her mind) been back stage on Jeremy Kyle and also in the Celebrity Big Brother house recently, not to mention cooking on Come Dine with Me which is particularly distressing as she’s never been a good cook.  Unfortunately her taste in TV programmes doesn’t help!

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2012 in Diary

 

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Can’t believe it’s more than a month since I’ve written my blog.  Where does the time go?

Have spoken to the Community Psychiatric Nurse about the crying episodes which are getting worse.  She seems to feel it is a symptom of Mum’s illness rather than straightforward depression.  I agree with her really as she’s not in that state all the time, it just seems to sweep over her for no apparent reason.  The Nurse also said that these symptoms often last for a while and then disappear which makes sense, as the period where she got up and dressed in the middle of the night lasted for a while then suddenly stopped.  (Thank God!)

Her anxiety levels have risen lately.  She seems to worry about everything – usually about imaginary problems.  The main focus is the Day Centre – she imagines that nobody likes her and constantly thinks she has offended people or been treated really badly, which makes her not want to return.

She had a crying episode last night while Mark was here with me.  She had a brief moment where she asked who I was, then asked if Mark and I were brother and sister.  She then went down the paranoia route, saying I was lying to her and this wasn’t her home and she preferred her other home; and various ramblings that were pretty unclear but obviously upset her.

The evenings are my main problem at present.  As soon as we’ve finished tea at around 6.30, Mum gets really restless.  She’s up and down from her chair every ten minutes, wandering off but not knowing why or where.  So it’s very difficult to do anything in the evening as I seem to spend all my time trying to settle her down.  She is also finding it difficult to get ready for bed – often can’t recall how to get undressed and on occasion comes back into the lounge in a totally different set of clothes.

I have been given a Carer’s Direct Payment by Social Services to fund extra care so today we had a visit from the Care Manager of a local agency.  It will be an opportunity for me to go out a little more often and leave Mum in safe hands.  She will probably like to have someone else here who is prepared to offer her her full attention, something which I possibly don’t do enough!

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 17, 2012 in Diary

 

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Paranoia

Mum continues to dislike going to the Day Centre.  Each time she comes home she has a new tale to tell about something dreadful that has happened, usually involving someone upsetting her or telling her off.  I have contacted the Day Centre on several occasions following these tales, to ensure that nothing untoward is happening but I am convinced it is Mum’s amazing imagination taking over.

Yesterday’s trauma involved her setting off some kind of alarm that would involve a fire engine calling at the house.  Last week it was someone giving a talk on concentration camps which really upset her.  I did call the Centre that day and they had apparently had a light-hearted quiz – not a talk on Belsen!

The other day the whole family (9 of us) went to my daughter’s for Sunday Dinner.  On the way home in the car, we stopped at a local shop and while my sister was inside the shop, Mum suddenly got upset and confused, telling me I was being unfair to put her through all this.

When we got her home and unravelled the story, she thought she was being taken hostage by a strange looking man.  We can only assume she had spotted someone she didn’t like the look of and concocted another strange tale in her poor damaged brain.

When she had one of these episodes recently, for the first time she didn’t know who I was and asked when I would be coming home as she was frightened.  This lasted for about 3/4 minutes but I guess it’s a taster of things to come.

How terrifying!

 

 

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2012 in Diary

 

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Knickers and Ladders

I haven’t written much lately for various reasons.  I was a bit down last week when I was on my own without family support and didn’t much feel like writing.  Also nothing too major has happened so I sometimes feel I’m just repeating myself and writing the same thing over and over again.

My sister and brother have returned from holiday (thank goodness) and everything is carrying on as ‘normal’.  Mum continues to say she hates the Day Centre.  She always tries to tell me some sort of horror story about what happened that day but I think most of it is based on paranoia and getting hold of the wrong end of the stick.   She had an obsession about her seatbelt on the bus, last week.  She was worried because she can’t do it up and the Carer would be cross with her.  What actually happened was that Mum tends to try and undo her seatbelt while the bus is moving!  She also told me about the ‘terrifying’ experience she’d had today but it all turned out to be based on a TV programme she was watching.  No change there then!

She also told us about someone who’d been playing a game of ‘knickers and ladders’.  Sounds like an interesting game – not the sort they should perhaps be playing in a Day Centre!

The one good thing that has happened is that her sleep pattern has more or less altered back to how it used to be.  It just suddenly began about a week ago when she slept through until 9 a.m. and it’s been fairly consistent since then.  Touch Wood!  So at last I am getting a much better night’s sleep which can go a long way to helping cope.

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2012 in Diary

 

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