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Tour #1…

The tour itself wasn’t so bad.  I’d supervised a group of PSW students there several years ago so I’d been there.  It was more for my mom.

But… it’s still different, more emotional, when you’re looking at it as a loved one’s final home.  Despite knowing she’d be in excellent hands (and might be happier for a short time when she started engaging with those her own age and involves herself in activities), it’s still tough.  You picture yourself visiting her there thereby spending more time there yourself.  There’s also the knowledge that she’d be in the locked unit for dementia and, yes, this unit looks the same but what will it be like to visit her there?  Can we still take her out of that unit to the cafe or are we stuck on the inside?

The last short while she hasn’t been too bad but it’s always right there, under the surface (of course).  My other brother was over Sunday with the girls and she wasn’t upstairs for quite a while, then came up later in the afternoon.  She had to ask my brother’s name and who the girls were.  She seemed okay for a while before she started to falter again.

Her deafness doesn’t allow her to keep up with conversations either and if you mention it she says there’s nothing wrong with her hearing.  We also figure that she’d forget to put her hearing aids in anyway if she did have them.

So, now I need to book a few more tours.

Adult to Child…

Dementia and all it entails takes a grown, experienced adult and whittles them down to the child they once were. 

Grandma continues to decline.  She’s back at the trailer and was surprised when my daughter and I showed up yesterday.  At least she didn’t ask how we got there.

She rarely knows where she is anymore.  A few nights ago they move they were watching a movie and it ended.  She asked “where do I go?”.  She was directed downstairs but still came up a short time later surprised that all her stuff was downstairs and once she got her bearings she walked up the stairs again to see if it was still the same place and if those stairs led her there. 

On Friday, she came upstairs with her suitcase ready to go to the trailer.  My mom reminded her that she had to go get her hair done first.  She came up a second time (this time in time to go to her hair appointment) and brought her suitcase! My mom went through it after she’d taken grandma to the hairdresser and she hadn’t packed enough clothing.  She had also packed two toothbrushes and tubes of toothpaste.  She doesn’t think she even brushes her teeth anymore. 

She also had to tell her the other day to have a wash and asked if she needed one.  She is no longer performing Activities of Daily Living. 

I finally made a few phone calls and mom and I go for our first LTC facility tour next Sunday at 10:30 a.m.  Will set up a few more. Once place only does them Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4:00 p.m.  Doesn’t help when I’m working.  That one might have to wait until the end of the month when I’m on vacation.  Have to discuss others so we can get as many tours in as possible. 

It’s a long, daunting process and difficult when it’s a loved one and you need that care to continue from those who know what they’re dealing with.

Downhill Slide

It’s been a week and a half and there is much I have seen and been told. 

Grandma doesn’t know days of the weeks or even times of the year.  Her short-term memory is fading even faster now. 

My parents took her to the trailer yesterday, for the day, so they could cut the grass and water the flowers, etc. 

She was upset because the neighbour was there and felt he should be at work; she wondered if he was retired now.  My mom told her it was Saturday.

Then she was upset by the kids being up there and riding around on their bikes, walking by, etc. and felt they should be in school.  My mom once again told her it was Saturday (for starters).  A short while later she once again seemed angry about the kids not being in school.  My mom then explained that it was July and the kids don’t go to school in July.  Grandma wanted to know when they would be going to school.  When told September she got angry and said they should be in school.

I know that even in 30’s and 40’s they did not go to school in summer.  They may have gone from 9-4 but it was still September to June, or so I believe.

She will ask the same questions and can be told the same things repeatedly.  I know it’s unfortunate for me to have to watch it but it’s sad for the kids to have to see it.  My daughter is old enough to understand better but my nieces and nephew are not. 

I got to spend fourteen years of my life with my great-grandma which were wonderful.  My daughter, nearly sixteen years with hers.  To the little ones, she may be a distant memory only.

Bad to Worse…

So even though Grandma wasn’t too bad the first day (and the day I was there), things progressively got worse as the weekend went on.  They did not stay the extra day.

She once again latched on to my mom and I think she’s starting to lose the memory of my daughter and I.  My mom seems to be the mainstay in her memory.  She no longer has the ability to know the days of the week or even the times of the year.  Monday my daughter texted to say that Grandma thought my dad was at work.

Her nights became worse and then when they told her after lunch yesterday they were going home, she sat on the couch with her purse and looked through it 4 times.  But never said what she was looking for.

When they arrived at the house, I was there and the first through the door was the pug, followed by Grandma who said that the little dog had just thrown up in the driveway (it was the Golden!).  Then she asked me if my little one had been at the trailer with them.

It’s as though she’s going downhill at lightening speed now.  And her memories of me and my daughter are slowly going with it.

Even my mom said yesterday that she’s going to have to go to a home sooner than later.  I agree but will continue to speak quietly to her about that.  It will be quite the transition for my mom as well!

Will continue to post.

Well mom insisted on taking her to the trailer again for the long weekend!

The first morning, she managed to miss a step and fell.  She hurt her back and she skinned her elbow.  In so many ways it’s like looking after a child.  My mom had used some gauze and fixed it up before I arrived but I talked my mom into getting some non-stick pads (always the nurse) to use because it had bled through.

Before I changed it, I kept watching the blood seep through the thin gauze and grandma saw me.  She told me what had happened and then said that she’s getting old.  I told her we all are really and that she has to be careful.  I didn’t tell her that maybe she should think about a cane or a walker to help her out with these things.

She had a pretty good night I heard.  She wasn’t too disruptive.  Maybe because they have A/C up there and they cooled it down?  We didn’t let her have the cup of tea she’d wanted with supper and she hardly drank anything yesterday (at least while I was there) though with the heat that’s not wise.  My mom gave her a glass of water and kept checking it but she would only sip it.  With a back injury, maybe she didn’t want to drink too much so she wouldn’t have to try to manipulate her way to the bathroom too often.

I hope that she has a good time up there.  We keep wondering how many times it will be her last.  It’s not a call we make.  We can only do our best to look after her while she’s here.

She’s still behaving the same with the Golden.  Poor guy.  One minute she’s feeding him treats and the next minute she’s grabbing his nose and cursing at him.

My uncle now understands where her mental state is at… it’s always shocking.

Until next time…

Scary…

My parents have two dogs, an aging Golden Retriever who sometimes isn’t as patient as he used to be and a Pug cross who is 4 years old.  For whatever reason, grandma seems to have it in for the poor Golden.  She is constantly grabbing and holding his nose and she’ll tell him he’s bad and a pain in the “butt”.  I’m afraid one of these days he’s going to snap at her.

She is constantly letting the dogs out and in again and yet yesterday when we were outside she told our poor Golden that she was not letting him in again and yet he hadn’t been in because we were all outside!

It wasn’t a great day yesterday for her.  We were all watching the baseball game, the Jays had bases loaded and there was a field shot on TV.  Grandma says that there were just way too many people on the field and that it used to be that only so many were allowed and they all had their place to be.

Doesn’t take much to load a baseball diamond really.  With bases loaded, you’re looking at 22 people on the field including 2 bat boys/girls and the on-deck batter.  But that’s just where her mind is at.

She also looked horrible.  She was complaining of the pain in her leg again which she said she was going to walk off and then stood but as soon as I sat down, so did she.

It’s no wonder my mom is going crazy… it’s scary!

 

Father’s Day

Today is Father’s Day and we will be celebrating with gifts.  Since one brother already lives there, the question is whether the other will bring the girls over.

Either way, grandma will simply think that it’s just another day.  My parents took her along to the trailer yesterday to get a few outside jobs done–lawn mowed and edged, water the plants.  And do a general check.  Mom texted at one point wondering if grandma had any idea where she was.  She looked very glassy-eyed.

When I was over last night, it was very similar.  She just seemed to sit and stare at the TV while we discussed the Jay’s game that was on.  And, I’d have to search this to find out if it’s normal, but she pets things.  She stares off into space and she pets the couch, or a pillow or her pant leg.

My mom is still having a tough go.  I think she’s having a tough time just letting go.  She sent me a text the one day about grandma’s behaviour and I wrote back to say that it’s not going to get any better.  I think sometimes my mom thinks it’s a illness and she’s going to improve.  Sure she has her good times but mostly she doesn’t.  We all have to come to terms with her going downhill and we all have to prepare ourselves for the next step.

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