Dementia, thief of the golden years

DEMENTIA, I had heard about it but never knew anyone personally suffering from this thief. That was until my wife’s mother was diagnosed with it. She lives in California so the only contact on a regular basis was through my wife’s sister who sugar coated everything, saying that her eighty year old mother was only slightly forgetful. Near my wife’s birthday, her mother and another sister sent my wife a gift card. My wife called to thank them. My wife’s mother answered the phone and sounded normal until my wife asked for her sister that lived with her. She told her that she didn’t live here and would have to call her. We knew she did, and when her sister came into the room where her mother was sitting and speaking, she asked who she was speaking to? She acted as if the sister had just dropped by for a visit giving her the phone. My wife was devastated when the sister that lives with her told her the truth. Hearing the state of mind that her mother was in, my wife wanted to go to visit her before she forgot who she even was. It had been seven years since they last saw each other. She seemed normal when we arrived in most respects but kept asking the same questions over and over. My wife’s greatest fear happened the second day there when she couldn’t remember who she was calling her, “HER” instead of by her name. When the sister mentioned her name to her mother, her mother said something about having a daughter by that name. Personally, she kept asking me how work went whenever I entered the room, like I lived there and still worked.  Her mother kept packing up to go home, she lived in this home for over fifteen years. Where home was, when we asked, she replied giving different places she lived in during her life. I felt bad living so far away. My wife’s sister has had to carry the burden of tending to her mother on a daily basis. One day the mother is present and the next minute, I don’t know where she is. Her mother keeps falling down and unable to get up. I helped her several times. Finally, she was admitted to the hospital while we were there. They found she had a urinary track infection and was suffering with atrophy as well from not moving very much, that was why she was falling all the time and unable to get up.  Maybe, some day we will find out what causes this and maybe find a solution (prevention) of this problem

Talk back, I’m Listening

6 thoughts on “Dementia, thief of the golden years

  1. butchcountry67

    I’m sorry that you and your family are having to go through this, my Grand Mother had dementia in her final years, she had 27 grand kids and 7 great grand kids and had no clue who any of them were, my Mother ended up having to put her in a home so she could be cared for 24/7 as our families are scattered to the 4 winds and there was no one there to look after Grand Mother, my Mother just couldn’t do it alone any more, as Grand Mother would throw “fits” and at times be hostile towards those around her , because she had no idea who they were or why they were there.

    • You have personal experience. She does get violent toward the sister that is caring for her on occasions. She thinks the sister is her jailer making her take her meds and not allowing her to go home. A.G.

  2. There is no cure for this. Just give this sister all the support you can and a break from being the caregiver, from time to time. Old age isn’t a disease it is a process. Some are able to keep their marbles and other don’t. We are here to love, help and protect until the end.

  3. I went through similar problems with my mother. At first I thought my mother, who was a great jokster, was fooling around. But little by little her behavior became more bizarre. she put a tub of butter in our freezer and insisted someone had stolen it When it was finally found in the freezer she accused my 10-year old daughter’s friend of deliberately hiding it there. She attempted to cook a can of soup on an electric stove in the can. One day she left our house where she was staying for the summer and went to a neighbor’s house claiming we had locked her in the basement. Adult Protective Services was called and when they came to investigate found it all to be untrue. Eventually I was forced to get guardianship and subsequently had to have her placed in an Alzheimer’s unit in a nursing home. Even there she snuck out on numerous occasions sometimes attacking personnel. This was a woman who had been kind and gentle and suddenly she was a completely different and frightening person. Not only does the Alzheimer patient suffer but the family does as well. We try to cope with and adjust to personality changes that come and go like the wind. I remember the first time my mother did not recognize my then 16 year old son who had always been her favorite. He was devastated. Even though he understood it still hurt him. I hope research will eventually find s treatment for this dreadful illness.

    • You and I both hope that something that can be found to somewhat cure this aging disease. The family suffers two losses, one when this happens and the other when they leave this world. A.G.

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