Where to get the strength when dealing with parent with senility/dementia - Jemsite
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-20-2015, 04:28 PM Thread Starter
 
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Where to get the strength when dealing with parent with senility/dementia

My mom just turned 79 and she worked for many years in our family store and then later as interpreter/translator for ATT and taught at Middlebury. She was fine working and functioning until age 75 with no signs of slowdown other than some minor physical stuff. Even up to that time she worked well as a 911 interpreter where she couldn't make any mistakes. Seeing that one would think all is OK.

But after her retirement, as is often the case, the wheels fell off and she basically lost her short term memory. First it would falter from time to time but progressively became worse. Without going into too much detail, it's very hard to see and one cannot function without it. It's certainly senility but has not been yet diagnosed as Alzheimer's or Lewy bodies dementia as are the more common ailments that can hit at that age.

But for the rest of us, my dad, myself, and others, it's hard to have the strength and patience to deal with this. I also work, as of all things, as a musician volunteer at the rest home and I see much, much worse things. It's not easy to see such human suffering and loss of mind/cognitive function, but it's altogether much harder when it's family.

I just hope to have the strength and patience when this becomes worse. I am done with thinking she's going to snap out of it and defy the process I have see too many times at the rest home.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-20-2015, 08:56 PM
 
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Re: Where to get the strength when dealing with parent with senility/dementia

my mom had a few strokes...i take care of her (while holding down a job myself)...only advice i can give is this...take it one day at a time...there's no other way i know of to get through it...it's tiring and frustrating...but it's gotta be done...d.m.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-20-2015, 09:46 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Where to get the strength when dealing with parent with senility/dementia

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Originally Posted by diablomozart View Post
my mom had a few strokes...i take care of her (while holding down a job myself)...only advice i can give is this...take it one day at a time...there's no other way i know of to get through it...it's tiring and frustrating...but it's gotta be done...d.m.
Thanks and that's very true.

I talked to my friend who had a mom who died of Alzheimers. He basically said that to lower frustration, you pick your issues carefully. If she sees pink elephants or thinks that she has more kids that is the case, there's no need to take the energy to try and argue over that. He told me to stick to the key (safety related) things, even though mom will only remember it for a day, of things like remembering to turn off stove or water or not walking into traffic.

Sometimes, hopefully, he said they will remember but it makes irrelavant things like not knowing what city you live in, or how many kids you have as anything worth talking about other than agreeing. To fix the home issue, he put a tag on her neck that had phone number and address in the event that she did get out undetected.

At the rest home when somebody says they need to go out and stoke the campfires later on, you say "OK" and go with it. If you tell them "no" or that there are no campfires, they can go berserk and wet their diapers and that's not worth the trouble. In a few minutes they will likely forget that they wanted to make campfires anyway. And the person you can be dealing with can have a radically different personality from the person you knew when they were well.

In my case, as is what I usually hear, the person who is ill can be much more argumentative and have a lot of out of context emotional outbursts. It's certainly not easy.

Last edited by 63Blazer; 03-20-2015 at 09:53 PM.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-20-2015, 11:46 PM
 
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Re: Where to get the strength when dealing with parent with senility/dementia

That's a tough spot - I know. It's very hard to be a caregiver. I think the toughest part with something prolonged like this is that you experience so many tough things that it can kind of leave you numb - and I think that's the frightening part. You run dry on emotions because you've run the gamut on bad feelings again and again. Sometimes you're just reacting more on practice and less on emotion. I think we have to remind ourselves to feel those feelings and see the person beneath that disease and love them all the same. If that makes sense.
Sincerely, best of luck. I hope you still see plenty of good days ahead even as you battle this.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-21-2015, 03:47 PM
 
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Re: Where to get the strength when dealing with parent with senility/dementia

See if you can locate a support group for help. In my area, dementia type support groups are prevalent. Hopefully, you can find some in your area. They are great at providing guidance and support to family members of dementia patients. Good luck.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-26-2015, 12:12 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Where to get the strength when dealing with parent with senility/dementia

Today I had a calm, rather sane conversation with mom today and she wasn't confused. If I let her talk and take her time she sometimes makes sense like the old days. I do know that given enough time these moments of clarity become fewer.

If I rush her when she tries to come up with the obvious it stifles her and things go downhill. I have to realize that I am not dealing with the same thought processes and it takes a concerted effort. It's like a different reality sometimes.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-26-2015, 02:09 AM
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Re: Where to get the strength when dealing with parent with senility/dementia

^^^ that's the key. Never argue. I treat my father like he is younger than my son. I bought some old-style GPS mobile phone so that we can track him when he is out. The other day we lost him, and we found him exhausted in the next .... city having walked well more than 10km. That was so terrifying.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-01-2015, 10:52 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Where to get the strength when dealing with parent with senility/dementia

We are thinking about dementia medication and while she's still with us mentally it's either a great idea according to her and a big insult depending on which day you ask her.

Her doctor is on board only if my dad is willing to push the issue but my dad is worried that the medication could make her worse. The unfortunate consensus is that the known medications do very little and possibly nothing in the treatment or slowing down of dementia. Western medicine simply knows way too little about the brain and 2015 is still the dark ages in the fight against this brutal family of diseases.

When I first mentioned medication the doctor's office was quick to remind us that it's very possible that the medicine won't do anything.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-03-2015, 05:07 PM
 
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Re: Where to get the strength when dealing with parent with senility/dementia

Middlebury College? In Vermont? What did she teach? I was an '03 alum.

I don't have much to tell you here other than be strong, and remember that she was there for you when you were too young to know what was going on around you. My gradmother's mind was almost completely gone when we lost her, several years ago, and it was hard to watch - hard, especially, to watch my father, who by the end I don't even know if she consistently recognized him.

I hope I die before the same happens to me. It's a hard way to live.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-03-2015, 06:07 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Where to get the strength when dealing with parent with senility/dementia

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Middlebury College? In Vermont? What did she teach? I was an '03 alum.

I don't have much to tell you here other than be strong, and remember that she was there for you when you were too young to know what was going on around you. My gradmother's mind was almost completely gone when we lost her, several years ago, and it was hard to watch - hard, especially, to watch my father, who by the end I don't even know if she consistently recognized him.

I hope I die before the same happens to me. It's a hard way to live.
Middlebury graduate school in California. Middlebury bought a bankrupt school out here once called Monterey Institute of International Studies. Our language school that offered master's degrees (my mom helped out in Japanese to English and vice versa) outgrew itself and the school had to rent nearby family homes to house extra employees and hold extra classes. As a financial person you can probably realize this wasn't the best financial decision on behalf of the school. I hope Middlebury continues to keep us afloat but rent on a small building here is the highest in all of California, except downtown San Francisco.

As for me wanting to live long, no way if I have to go this way. It's terrible and very hard on those around the person who is affected. It's truly a family disease and pretty soon I will be helping full time as small cities like this have no resources. It's times like this that I wished I lived in NYC or LA where there's a lot of help and trained people in this modern plague. Our retirement community basically calls dementia the "plague".

The very wealthy live in rest home where I sometimes entertain people with music. I don't want to see my mom end up like this. Not only do some not know their kids, they don't know they own gender, how old they are, or if any person nearby is there mom or dad. Some very prominent people in town got felled by this most cruel of diseases and one famous person (from LA area) there has no idea who they once were.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-04-2015, 11:39 AM
 
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Re: Where to get the strength when dealing with parent with senility/dementia

No ****, yeah, the Monterey Institue, I forgot about that. I went to undergrad in Vermont, but they do language programs at the graduate level at their Breadloaf campus in Vermont, at Monterey, and at one or two other locations throughout the world. It's kind of an interesting setup - they have an excellent "little Ivy" liberal arts undergrad school, and then a world class foreign language graduate school under the same umbrella.
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