Dementia is a Scourge

22 Comments

From the day I met him, I've called Charlie the gadget guru.

Before the US Air Force called him to active duty for the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1961, he was an industrial arts teacher. He could fix anything, operate any kind of machinery or tool, and had a habit of acquiring every new gadget that was invented for the handyman. Whether it was woodworking, plumbing, electrical work or auto mechanics, Charlie could do it.

How things have changed since dementia turned his brain to Swiss cheese. Every night, before I retire, I explain to him how to turn off the television; still he doesn't always get it right.

Yesterday morning the house was freezing cold when I got up. My first thought was that the furnace had quit. Not so. When I checked the thermostat I saw that Charlie had turned it down ten degrees lower than I had set it when I went to bed. I repeatedly tell him that he doesn't need to touch it but he forgets my instructions as soon as I leave the room.

He has a talking watch to help him keep track of the day and month as well as the time. But he has a bad habit of constantly tinkering with the little buttons. So now it is out of kilter and, of course, he has lost the instructions so no one can get it back in sync. I took it to a jewelry store to see if they could fix it, but they were lost without the instructions.o I ordered him a new one for Christmas from a popular gadget catalog.

Since the neighborhood bear ran off with our suet feeder, I bought a new one and gave it to Charlie to insert the suet and hang it up so the birds can enjoy a Christmas feast. True to form, he couldn't figure out how to open the cage and insert the new suet pack. So I loaded it myself.Now I just have to find another six-footer to hang it up for me, since Charlie's legs won't cooperate while he handles that duty.

I don't think he has dialed a phone in four years. All those buttons are totally confusing to him. I have to dial up his party and hand the phone to him. And when he's done, I have to turn off the phone.

As for the cell phone, it might as well be the original Univac computer as far as he is concerned.First of all, his very large hands can't manage those tiny buttons; and all the options are completely foreign.

This time of year the commercials are loaded with gadgets of all types. Charlie watches them longingly and, at times, suggests that he should order one of them; but he knows he would never be able to operate it. He might be able to figure out the Clapper, but that would be the extent of his mechanical ability.

It's sad. He realizes his limitations and it is very frustrating for him.

The man I had come to depend on is gone and I have to look elsewhere for someone to do minor projects around the house. Even more frustrating, is having to undo the things he has unwittingly messed up.

Dementia is a scourge.

Marlis describes herself as a “Gramma who loves technology and has a lot to say.” She blogs about whatever catches her interest: food, books, family and more. For AgingCare.com, she writes about the issues facing the elderly and her experiences caring for her husband, Charlie, who suffers from dementia.

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22 Comments

A very good article- I can relate to this.My sister has had dementia or / Alzheimer's for three years that I have noticed Loved ones don't see it right away
looking back you realizes she has had it longer then you thought.Her Husband hid a lot of it I guess in his mind he was going to take care of her,unfortunately he passed away.We put a programmable thermistat & a case that can be locked
so that no one can change the temprature unless they have the key.Her small motor skills & short term memory are her biggest problems.My sister can still play euchre but cannot remember names of who she has talked to that day - but a week or so she can recall.She can still read ,but no longer uses her computer.Loves TV that is if she has not played with the buttons on the channel changer.We marked the buttons shecan touch --with nail polish.Works most of the time.:) Some days she can not find the power button.She is still in her home for now in which they say is good for people with dementia They do not like change.They can relate to their long term memory , but some days what is in her mind is out in left field -- a fairytale .When she is with children she acts like a child.The Caregiver has to rememberthat there is no cure for this disease & you can not do the caring alone.As Long As They Can Make Up Thier Own Mind -- you have to just be therefore them.There are Good Days & Bad Days
Get all the organizations involved that can help you. for the near future.
I have power of attorney over hear health & joint with her on her bank account.
So if something should happen I can pay her bills for her & buy things she needs
She no longer remembers she has a debit card. Or Even knows her pin number.
I know in the very near future I will have to have her placed.
Every one who has dementia acts different fron being happy to being very angry.When that happens you have to have them addmitted & assessed & placed in a caregiving facility.There is a waiting list ,so somtimes they are in thr mentsl psrt of the hospital.Hope this is helpfull to some people.




Dementia really is cruel. When I look at the people it has taken, it makes me so angry, sad, and helpless. There is little that we can do to halt the progression.

I cherish each day that nothing horrible happens to my cousin. The sudden falls and hallucinations were frightening, but the other issues like loss of hand dexterity and bladder control creep up.

I still see the look of elation on her face when I walk through the door at the Memory Care unit, but I have to prepare myself, because I know that will eventually stop. One day she won't know who I am. Will she cease to have any joy in her life. Soon my little gifts, cards, and visits won't mean anything to her. Every time I write about it, I start weeping. I just can't understand why this has to happen to humans. Many are good people who have spent their lives helping others, being good husbands, wives, and children, fighting for their country, etc. Now they are in a place they can't get back from.

I realize there are many terrible diseases, however, the two that are IMO the most cruel are Dementia and ALS. Both are so horrific. I pray daily for a cure, treatment, something......
My mother does all of those things. It is horrible. Luckily, she now lives in assisted living and has sitters around the clock. I was getting so frustrated and it kept me upset all of the time. I now go and visit her, but I can leave all of the other stuff with her caregivers. We are blessed that her house sale can fund all of this. I guess it would be different if it was my spouse versus my mother because I haven't lived with her in a million years and I know I would probably be trying to take care of a spouse myself. I hope you get some respite from this situation, because I know it can be physically and mentally exhausting. God bless you!