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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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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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Update

I’ve finally got to the bottom of why Mum is distressed after the hairdresser has been.  We think that she believes she has actually gone to a hairdressing salon and she is sitting waiting for me to collect her.   She is getting agitated when Denise has left and a long time passes before I get home.   I have decided I need to be here from now on when she has her hair done.

We stayed in most of the Jubilee Holiday watching events on the TV which Mum did seem to enjoy to a certain extent.  However whilst watching the flotilla on the Thames, she got rather agitated and she seemed to think she was actually on the Queen’s barge.  Said she was very cold and wanted to get off!

A couple of funny anecdotes:

-Mum suddenly told me the other day that I could easily pass for 32.  (I am 63!)  I pointed out that my daughter is 33 but that didn’t seem to have any significance!

-My son, Ben, came over for the day recently and we were sitting ‘chatting’ to Mum when she suddenly gave a big sigh and said “Oh – c’est une voyage!” quite clearly.

I have known for some time that she doesn’t really follow TV programmes any longer, even ones she used to love such as Coronation St.  Indeed, the main problem as I have previously mentioned is that she thinks the programmes are actually part of her life and talks to the characters on the screen then wonders why they don’t reply.  However the other day the ad break came on and Mum was really confused.  When I tried to explain that it was the adverts, she really didn’t understand what they were!

If only we could see the world through the eyes of a dementia sufferer.  I told her this morning that she’d left her toast in the kitchen to which she replied, “I haven’t, it’s here” and patted the arm of the chair to point it out.  Then later when I brought her a cup of coffee she lifted an imaginary cup of coffee to her mouth.  She’s done that before but it’s very spooky.  Why can she see things that aren’t there and not see things that are there?

The sundowners continue to get worse.  I feel I can never really have a relaxed evening any longer as Mum is constantly fidgeting or wandering around the flat with no purpose.  Then she continually asks me questions that don’t make any sense.  Sometimes, if she disappears, I have to check what she’s up to as one of her latest obsessions is changing her clothes.  She’s just done it now, while I’m writing this, and she came back in the room with her trousers inside out!

But the worst part of the sundowners is the crying.  It’s distressing for her and also for me.  I have taken her to the GP about this and he increased her anti-depressant dose but it made no difference.  He thinks it’s an inherent part of her illness – great!   When I ask her why she’s crying she usually doesn’t know but sometimes says she’s frightened but doesn’t know what of.

She continues to not enjoy the Day Centre.  She came in yesterday and burst into tears.  When I asked her what what was wrong she said “If you’d had a day like I’ve had, you’d cry!”  She started to tell me some convoluted tale about the second world war and Belsen concentration camp, and how frightened she was.  Someone stroked her hand but she knew that was the secret signal!

I was so worried I actually rang the Day Centre.  I spoke to the Officer in Charge who couldn’t understand where it had come from.  She said they’d had a quiz in the afternoon as they often do and Mum had seemed fine, in fact she actually had a laugh with her whilst Mum was waiting for the bus.  She told me the problem is that Mum probably won’t tell them when she’s frightened but she will keep an eye on her as she has noticed that she is deteriorating.

Happy days!

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 8, 2012 in Diary

 

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Day Centre and Hairdresser

Mum has been attending the Day Centre for nearly a year now and recently increased to two days a week.  She’s never actually said she likes it but lately has told us many times that she really hates it.  She doesn’t like any of the people, the games and activities, or the food!  She seems to know that she has to go but she is becoming increasingly agitated about it.

Last night, when she knew she was going today, she was tearful and anxious all evening.  She has some sort of idea that she won’t know what to do or where to do, as though she’s never been before.  It’s quite distressing to watch her agitation and know there’s nothing you can do to lessen it.

The alternative is cancelling her visits and I’m afraid, selfishly, that isn’t going to happen.  It’s amazing how much I look forward to my 2 days a week to myself, particularly as I am now finding it more and more difficult to leave Mum alone of any length of time.

One example of this is on Tues morning when Denise, the hairdresser, calls in to do Mum’s hair.  I’ve always been able to go out during this time and usually not got home until after Denise has left.  However the last 2 weeks I have come home on Tues and found mum sitting on a dining chair crying.  I couldn’t ever get to the bottom of what was the matter but when I asked her why she wasn’t sitting back in an armchair, she said she didn’t think she was allowed to go over that side of the room and it seemed a bit cheeky.

Having been at home this Tues and speaking to Denise, she thinks that Mum is under the impression she is in a hair salon and is waiting there for me to come and collect her.  That would explain her agitation – that she doesn’t realise she is actually in her flat.  Consequently I’m not going out on a Tues morning any more!

 
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Posted by on May 31, 2012 in Diary

 

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Day Centre

Well Mum had her first visit to the Day Centre on a Monday!   She was nervous that it hadn’t been arranged and no-one would know why she was there but I tried to reassure her that she was expected and when the bus arrived with the same Carer as usual it seemed to put her mind at rest a bit.

I enjoyed a lovely day out with my daughter.  Two free days a week now – bliss!

When Mum came home, she said she had had an awful day.  She hadn’t spoken to anyone all day and there was no-one there she knew.  She then went on to tell me about the lady she sees every week who is really snooty.  Well she decided to talk to her and she was really nice after all!!

My daughter was going back to London this evening and I had to run her to Runcorn station – about half an hour away.  I told Mum I would be about an hour but she became upset about being left and asked if she could come with us.  Don’t know why I’ve never thought about it before –  so we took Mum on a road trip to Runcorn and back!

 
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Posted by on May 14, 2012 in Diary

 

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What a difference a week can make

We decided not to trick Mum about the Day Centre this week and told her she was going.  To my amazement she slept fine.  Just can’t understand what has changed.  She didn’t even seem overly stressed about getting ready this time.

I rang Social Services yet again today and still get the feeling that Mum’s file keeps going back to the bottom of the pile.  I also rang a private Care Agency to see about their ‘sitting service’.  A Care Manager is calling to see us tomorrow.

We are going to the GP tomorrow in response to a letter from the hospital following her fall.  I need to ask him if there is anything we can do about her depression.  She is already on a low-dose anti-depressant but I am wondering if we could increase this.  She is bursting into tears at the drop of a hat lately, usually due to frustration because she can’t remember what she wants to say or because she just can’t get her words out.

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2012 in Diary

 

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