I do not understand this disease. Dementia and the ability to focus oneself on the same subject.

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My Mom's companion ( Howard) walked out on her on 4/29. I do not blame him. He could no longer take her physical abuse and emotional abuse. I have had her in my care since. I did get her on meds and she has been so calm. She owns her home but, she cannot live there anymore. Her focus is only on getting Howard back.. I do not understand how she can remember that he left when she cannot remember what was said toher 5 minutes ago. How does one help her to get him out of her mind? It is so sad to see her cry and ask me to help her get him back.......If I could, I would..That is the only thing that would make her happy.

I do not understand this disease..It does not matter how much I read, I just do not get it.


I don't get it either. My husband has dementia, has been very difficult, but now that he's scheduled to go to assisted living (he thinks it's only for a few days of therapy) and has not been told he will be living there, he seems almost normal. Now I feel guilty that I've made this decision, but have been encouraged to do so by the doctor, therapists, social workers and friends. It's such a cruel disease. Some days I'm convinced this is the right decision, but today when he seemed normal, I'm not so sure. He will be going there in 3 days. I'm terrified of his reaction.

Have you considered the possibility of assisted living? Some people seem to be content there. I totally understand how you feel. I have also read a great deal on it. It's incredibly frustrating. I wish I had some words of comfort for you. Perhaps talking with others who are experiencing similar problems will help.
I have considered assisted living for her. But, she knows enough to know she does not want to leave her own home. She can still bathe, do her hair, wash her clothes, iron, do dishes, chores etc. I love her to death. I know he cannot come back as he cannot handle it anymore. I just asked her again to sell her home and come live with me. She said, No...I can take care of myself. I know she cannot and so do the doctors...I just want her to live with this disease the best way she can and I want her to die with her dignity intact. Maybe, I am trying to protect me from the eventual progessiveness of this disease. I also read that it could take 10-20 years before she is gone completely. She does not have Alz..The brain scan showed no shrinkage.

I am just a child trying to care for my Mother. I may be 54, but I am still her child.
Where she is now is not where she will be in a few months from now. The time will come believe me. Take her to assisted living facilities and they will have you both join them for lunch or dinner. (lunch is better, it is their main meal there, lol) and she can see the activities and help there. And the great social aspect for someone able to still get around. Just visit. I felt I was always behind one step in where I took her for care, but actually, the disease is one step ahead. Always plan for the next step to be.
I agree with "picture". If it's financially feasible for her to make a move, start taking her around to look at communities. Her condition will only worsen and, as you point out, she could go on for a long time. The cruelest aspect of dementia is that some people remain remarkably healthy for years, long after their personalities and thinking abilities are gone. I think it should be considered malpractice to prescribe any but palliative medications and procedures for patients with advanced demential and Alzheimers. I know of a case where a surgeon inserted a pacemaker in a patient who could no longer reliably recognize his own family members. So few doctors these days look at their patients as whole people.
Interacting with new people at a community will help re-direct her attention away from Howard. The loss of him must be devastating to her, but I understand his need to preserve his own physical and mental health. At some point, you may have to put your foot down about what's best for her. She is no longer capable of making complex decisions. Much like children, the decisions of those with significant dimension are driven only by what they want at the moment they want it.
I think that dementia affects people in different ways. For example, beginning 8-9 months ago my 87 year old mother is certain that there is "grit" growing in her hair & she has to scratch it out to keep it from growing down on to her forehead. Once she said that she could not put her hearing aids in because one of her ears had filled with the grit.
This progressed to her thinking that a piece of plastic is growing out of her right elbow. So she has to rub that to keep it smoothed down. More recently she says that there are scales on her face that she needs to rub off. So now she spends hours on end scratching her head & rubbing her elbow & face. It is going to be interesting to see what comes next. It is interesting that in all other respects she is ok; at least for now. Her 90 year old sister is certain that there are people who come in her windows every night & sleep in her house.
So there is no "one size fits all" when it comes to dementia!
It took a lot of reading on this wonderful site for me to finally accept that I can not fix it. My mom is slowly slipping into her own world. As much as I want for her to be her old self, that is not going to happen. I have to accept the world that she is in & try to deal with it because she can not be in my world any more.
What I find that a caregiver must understand is the nature of the disease, where certain little brain parts are dying off and can't function as they did. Some days my Mom seems to be nearly her normal self--which was rather mean, anyway. At others she seems out of it and cannot remember anything said to her all day--so we repeat over and over. Personality and what she can and cannot do for herself change all the time--we just have to remember that this is a real disease, not the person choosing to remember certain things and not others or behave certain ways and not others. It takes so much out of you to be a caregiver--so if you are now the main one, get all the help you can get. I'm not sure how long your mother had Howard around as a caregiver, but ANY change in her environment will bring about some sort of reaction, usually a worse one. Often patients perseverate on one topic--in this case Howard, thinking and talking over and over about it. Most often it is something in her far past, but no one patient with dementia is the same.
My advice to you, since you have already read things about the disease, is to talk with others doing the same thing you are--you will see the similarities and differences in each patient. Good luck.
Dementia seems to vary from person to person and from day to day. I doubt that anyone really understands it, and there's little that one can do except try and keep the patient comfortable, and look after yourself. Until recently I saw nothing but a slow decline in my wife's mental health during the past two years she has been in bed, but a very recent change towards a slightly ketogenic diet has been encouraging. Using coconut oil wherever I could, her demeanor improved and I saw glimpses of the wonderful person she used to be. The changes could be part of the normal variations in dementia, but my intuition and scientific training tell me the changes are real. My next step is to try and get her closer to a truly ketogenic diet. If further improvements result I will post them.
My 86 year old mother has sundowners now. during the day she appears to be very normal but after five she goes into her own world and calls out to her deceased husband and new boyfriend all night long! how do I handle this it makes me look like the bad guy and making everything up because no one sees what she is like during nightfall? Please help me
My stepmother has dementia, and it is more exhausting being around her than caring for my dad who has a plethora of physical and emotional problems. She will sometimes repeat the same statement every other minute all day. What is so frustrating is that her two daughters won't take her to be evaluated. They just want me and my siblings to have my dad committed, so they can "take care" of her. My dad is not preventing them from doing anything; they are just avoiding doing it. She is not in bad physical health and I've wondered if Alzheimer medication might help if they would have her evaluated.
Dementia is hard to understand..she has problems choseing her words - like if she wants spaghetti for dinner, that word won't come out...so she tries to describe it for me..or she will look at her dresser and tell me she is not sure she has all that she needs - she's drying to recognize her deodorant,perfrume, etc..and I tell her atleast once a month, it is all there...when these events happen its so very frustrating to her because she is aware that her mind is messing her up...yet she still is able to dress herself, bath, wash dishes, and give my father advise, etc. the thought process of getting a meal is not something she can do..she may set the table, placing down the utensils and forget the plates..so I don't understand this disease at all either...and if its going to get worst - when?? I saw my cousin's Mom deteriate quickly to me with alzheimers..i'd perfor my Mom to leave this earth as she is now..then to decline as my aunt did...so, I too just take it one day at a time..I'm my parents only child...and it hurst me so when they forget what they've done or did and I tell them its the disease that made them forget, and they look at me like i have TWO HEADS...i'm so glad I found this sight, it is so comforting to know that I'm not alone and from you ladies, my tomorrow may be brighter. My Gods blessings continue to be with all of us!

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