When dementia begins to take over.

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I began to notice how Mom would lose the ability to remember words. They were instances just here and there, but none the less... she just could not remember certain words.

I watched as this began to increase and it was not easy to go through. Trying to make them remember is futile since they don't know what they have forgotten. That memory is locked away somewhere for safe keeping. I say this because she had moments where she would remember something and it was as clear as clear could be. Even her countenance changed when she would relate the memory. It was amazing.

I was blessed to go to a Care Giver's Conference given by the Elder Services in my county and it was the best thing I could have done for myself. I learned so much. I learned that the crystal clear memory Mom had is called just that... a crystalized memory! Once she was done talking about it, her demeanor went back to what is now normal for her. It was almost like watching a dual personality emerge and disappear.

Having an older brother who was bent on correcting my mother frustrated me to no end. He was convinced of so many untruths about her that I would just shake my head and walk away from him. It did no good to "discuss" the point with him. All that did to her was make her angry and I also saw the depression growing because she was reminded that she was not thinking clearly.

It has gotten much worse because she decided to throw away her meds so she would end up in the hospital and from there she would go to rehab. I know she thought this would be her ticket to go to where she really wanted to be. Mom loved it at rehab, and that is where she wanted to go, not assisted living. Mom really did not like it there at all and wanted out. Well, she got her wish because by not taking her meds for a week, she cause more damage to her heart, her blood pressure went up, she retained lots of fluids... it all put tremendous stress on her heart and put her back in the hospital. I really liked her new Cardiologist but he did not mince words with me. He told me plainly... your mother did more damage to her heart. Balancing that and the renal failure is like walking a very fine line. She is in a critical condition now and she is going to die!

I was good until he said that to me, once I was off the phone I fell apart! I got through that and now we have a DNR and DNH in place along with the morphine drugs to ease her breathing and make her comfortable. I was very angry at first that she did this, but... I got over it and my heart breaks for her that she felt that desperate.

We truly thought assisted living would be the best place for her but she hated it so much that she made a desperate attempt to control what she felt she could without realizing the damage she would cause to her body. She just did not have the ability to think it through, unfortunately. If she makes it to Christmas, we will be blessed!

I love mom, and God knows I have a lot to really hold against her but no family is perfect. It is all so insignificant now that she is at that place where she won't be with us much longer. I thank God he called me to take care of her inspite of the "family issues" and that took more strength than I realized I had. What's that Brooklyn Tabernacle song... My Help Cometh from the Lord! It truly does! He has given me the grace to forgive, he has given me the grace to love her and care for her and make her last days as pleasant as possible. For that I am truly grateful.

My one wish, my hope, my dream... is that when it is my time, that my own daughter does not wait to experience what God has allowed me to learn at this time in Mom's life when I am where she is now. Holding grudges does no one any good especially the person holding the grudge.

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I sure don't look forward to my mother reaching those stages, if it's going to be anything like when she thought I'd taken her keys (to her lock box) and taken her gun (which was in the lock box). I had to call my brother over (lives next door) to remedy the situation. She was wrong on her accusations but the matter was settled once and for all (wasn't the first time we had issues about her gun). Key out of reach, weapon NOT in lock box, and she doesn't have access to it. In the mean time, she was ready to call the freaking cops!.
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dementia patients lose their nouns first.
" dual personality " in my mothers case the dementia is beginning to cause paranoid schitzo symptoms. visuals, delusional thinking, calling family members imposters, people stealing from her and trying to kill her. she even feels things that arent real. if she falls she feels a hand on her shoulder shoving her off balance. hearing things that arent real ie; running water..
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The use of the word "exactly" was an expression that I almost edited out of there, because folks frequently get "dinged" for using the word when identifying with another's feelings.... but decided to leave it in, just to express my point. Sometimes I just don't feel like being precise, and most of the time the other folks don't mind, either.. I have one friend who dings me whenever I say, in the middle of a conversation, "but seriously, now." He says that he assumes when people are conversing that they are being serious, so then does that mean they weren't being serious before they said that? Good grief, it's just an expression. And no need for him to waste energy pondering, in clouds of self-imposed confusion. In the end, I think it's more of an anal thing for him.

I certainly never intended to imply that anyone should follow my path, and I hope that no one got that impression. Everyone has to access their own situations and evaluate their options... I certainly agree, all of us do not have the same options. And it's a fact, staying at home is not always the best option, for the convalescent. I didn't say all that because I assumed everyone knows their own situations, whereas I was speaking of mine. Sorry for that. I can only hope and pray that things will fall in such a way that I can.
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(((((AHUG))))) for Riding the Waves and your wonderful sense of humor. You are an inspiration to me! And thanks for the word "manipulation". That will help me explain things when I get a chance to state my case, as it were. Blessings.
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@RidingTheWave, not only can "not every one do that" (keeping a loved one at home) but it is not always the best option even if it can be done. I promised my husband that I would never abandon him, but we talked several times (in his more lucid moments) about the possibility that he might need more care than I could provide. I am glad that he could stay in our home the entire 10 year dementia journey and die in our bedroom, but I would never have insisted on that just to keep an ill-advised promise if it had not been also best for him.

I don't think you know EXACTLY what anyone is going through. You know what you went through, and it may have been similar. But we each bring our own experiences, beliefs, hopes, fears, and strengths to each situation and no two situations are ever exactly alike.
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Oh please forgive me, I didn't carefully read the last bits of your post and I didn't realize you were going through the last days. I sometimes run through reading very fast (part of my add/adhd). I surely did not mean to disrespect you, with my long posting, and ranting about some of the causes of dementia., as you are grieving. We went through that with my dad, he was on morphine to ease his pain. I know exactly what you are going through. My mother is not happy, either, and I understand that depression is common when our elderly parents suddenly become dependent on others, My mother was a very active little lady, involved in numerous lady's organizations, so it really was an adjustment. Her license wasn't taken from her, but it expired. I had also read that losing the license was sorta like the last straw, the ultimate let down, because that truly did mean they were dependent on someone else. For us, well at least for me, since my brother isn't involved in her care, beyond sitting for a couple of hours, on occasion, while I run errands, I've promised her that I would never put her in a nursing home. She promised my dad that and she kept her word. For that, I have dedicated myself to that, for her. But, I understand that not everyone can do that. I only pray that, when my time comes, I just pass away quickly, so that I don't put my kids through making those decision, especially since I don't have any daughters. I wish you the best of luck,. God Bless
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CARobinson, God Bless you. Your story is so incredibly familar and spot on.

Yes, when does it all really begin? You have had many good responses.

Most family members (who ocassionally visited) are as clueless as most Doctors and many nurses that are not trained, and/or have "hands on" experience. Text books only go so are.

You made a decision for the type of facility to provide care for your Mother. You did the best you could, far more than most. Please don't be hard on yourself at this time. Not everyone can be a 24/7 caregiver, and incorporate a total "hands on" to the patient. And, you can't be watching when someone else is being paid to watch. Don't be upset with the meds situation, and I disagree with one respondent that asked "Why wasn't someone watching her NOT take her meds?" My goodness, back off with this kind of response. An assisted care facility doesn't watch 24/7. A nursing facility doesn't watch 24/7! You may be dealing with human beings that don't not like their jobs...and that is a fact. And, there is such a thing as "pocketing" pills/meds..with the person not swallowing..rather kepts them in their mouth...only to spit out after the person leaves. I know, I experienced. I also know that you can turn your back for five minutes...and in my case...my Mother bolted out the front door. Then it was door alarms..and baby monitors. And yes, UTIs will create an imbalance that few talk about or advise on, in advance. I had to also monitor a britle diabetic, so I was always on guard to understand behavior (drop in BS level) and eliminate, by process of elimination as to what was at stake. It was like being on a roller coaster ride, going down a fast one way track.

And you are right... "It was almost like watching a dual personality emerge and disappear." Experienced as well..like a Dr. Jeckel and Mr. Hyde. I know how difficult this was to experience.

You are doing the best you can. The family issues will not likely go away. It's a tough situation..just keep up with your diligence. You will not regret what you are doing. Marco40
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P.S. I'm sorry, it's been 2 years since her accident.. only about 16 months since she came home and I became her caregiver.
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... continued.. she knew what she wanted to say, but could not formulate the words. So, it was funny, actually, for her to hear what was coming out of her mouth and there was nothing she could do, at the time, to to change that situation. It was extremely frustrating for her but , in the end, she had to laugh at herself. That was one sort of language issue. The other one was that she could formulate words into articulate sentences that made perfect sense... the problem was, the sentences had nothing to do with what she was actually trying to say... and once again, she could hear what she was saying, knew the words were not what she had intended to say... yet she could do nothing about it.

Since getting her on the antibiotics, the gibberish has gone and she's now able to speak the right words and sentences necessary to get her point across. She does, however, still have "confusion". And I don't know if it's a natural progression of aging (she's not been diagnosed with dementia or alztheimers, ect) ... or whether he confusion was caused by the infection... and I'm still anxious to see if any more of her confusion is going to go away... and, in fact, curious to know whether the infection caused any permanent confusion, accelerating further decline in her mental faculties. She's having trouble with names right now. She's also having trouble remembering that my first name, my middle name, and my nickname are not separate people ... sigh... of course we make great fun of it... she's "trusting" me, at least.. and since our family has always acted with a sense of humor, I did for one brief moment tell her that she had triplets, and each of those names ... lol... well, I did laugh and set her straight...

When she gets in those states, I very patiently give her the details, and we often talk through those places, and try to find ways to identify where the confusion is...was she dreaming, was there another person in the house, whose voice she heard, was the television on (dogs barking on the tele, as well as the phone ringing on the tele often have her thinking they are real). .. when she was barely recovering from her accident, she had vivid dreams in which she'd swear to things which couldn't possibly have happened... and we taught her how to recognize, or rationalize out, whether something really happened... first thing was, would it make any sort of sense that this thing happened... if id didn't, she knew it wasn't real.

We are looking into a more forward thinking doc than the one who said that UTI's don't cause confusion. As well, I want to say that I am ADD/ADHD (adult diagnosis late in life) ... one of the symptoms of my condition is that my brain cannot separate the layers of noise... let's say like background music on the television show or the music on the commercial... to an add'er the background noise can sometimes sound as loud as the movie or whatever it is that's playing... then add, to that, any conversation going on in the room, between two people. It can be maddening. As well, I have an acute sense of hearing, so I can even hear sounds that others with normal hearing do not hear.. All this to say, the brain is a wondrous and mysterious thing!

First and foremost, make sure you have your loved one checked out for any sort of infections. Google it, read about it, don't just believe me. Secondly, find ways to help your loved one keep in touch with reality, by helping them identify whether something is real or not, don't just pass them off as being a goner... and since I've come to witness my mother's own confusion with speech, I'm here to say that if she can hear her words and know they are not right, then she's certainly not a 'goner' ... there's a block somewhere, preventing. her from speaking right... and thirdly, find a way to help them deal with the decline. We've chosen humor. In my opinion, it helps keep her terra firma if she's made aware of the confusion, rather than passing it off as "oh, well, we'll just play this little game with her and go with it"... in my opinion, if we leave them to go down that road, they may never come back. And what a painful place for them to be. There may come a time when I have to do just that, but we're not there yet. She was giving me a hard time the other day and said, "And who are you?" ... I said, "who am I?" ... she said, "Yes, who are you?" ... it was almost like a 'who do you think you are kinda question' ... and so I asked her, "Well, who are you?" ... and she boldly spat out her name... then asked again, "And who are you?" ... I looked her in the eye and said, "I'm Jackie Onassis!" ... she fell over laughing. She knew it wasn't so! I just try to find ways to smooth over the humiliation the confusion causes.

Thanks for listening.
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... ooops... it sent... but not finished... so will continue...
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