Settling in…

I’ve only been to see grandma twice in the six weeks or so that she’s been in the home, the last time this past Tuesday evening and she was more settled than when I saw her the first time.  She didn’t cry when she saw us and she was sitting in the common area watching a movie with her room mate.  They are getting along well now despite rocky beginnings.

She sat me down next to her and we watched some of this movie which happened to be a Christmas movie mere days before Halloween but that’s okay.  It was cute and had dogs in it, one that could talk, so they were all finding it very amusing despite nobody (including staff) knowing the name of it!

This is a good thing and helps put the mind at ease.  She’s safe, she’s secure and she has staff there that know what they’re doing and can help her with anything.

My aunt and uncle finally came for a visit last weekend and went to see her.  She knew my uncle and they were there for quite a while.

I also got a chance to see my grandma’s room as we moved in a dresser for her clothes.  She has pictures of all of us labelled with names and who we are.  We’re making it more of her own place now.

On the other hand, my mom has been cleaning out her stuff.  She has sent some clothes to me that I just raise an eyebrow at! Some of it’s okay, mostly tops.  I’ve washed some of it but other stuff, like skirts, I will never wear for multiple reasons.  Her furniture has mostly gone already so it’s a bit of a shame really.

I am so glad that she got in and that she is where she is.  Yes, it’s a new chapter for all of us and I do hope that she gets some quality of life back before she’s taken from us.

So far, I think it’s pretty good!


On Friday September 18 my mom and dad moved grandma into her room in LTC.  It’s a beautiful facility and the staff are great.

My mom has been unwinding but having to sort out her entire house at the same time! A week after grandma moved out of the house we moved my brother back home except he’s going to take the basement apartment.  Get back on his feet, save some money.

I think mom is still adjusting.  She commented that she could actually come visit us Wednesday evening, except we are at the barn until at least 6:30 if not later.  She is readjusting to just being able to up and leave the house!

I finally went to see grandma Monday evening.  She cried when she saw my mom and said that she was just about to ask someone for a phone to call her mother to see if she could go home.  She wanted us to come to her room to pack her clothes.  I wanted to see her room but a sign caught my attention and I said “they’re having a sing-song!”  My mom was grateful that it was starting moments later and we got in line and followed to the library for singing.

But my daughter and I never said goodbye as we excused ourselves to find a bathroom and felt it might be best to just stay put.

My mom ended up leaving grandma in the bathroom because she was taking so long.  I had wanted to go for a short time (45 min-an hour) and we ended up being there an hour and a half I believe it was.

According to the staff though she is participating in activities, she’s eating well, so she’s not missing us.  We need to go some afternoon before the sundowning starts.

I won tickets to see Chris De Burgh this past Friday night and mom came with me.  I think she enjoyed herself.  He sings a song about memories and I think it brought a tear to her eye.  He started off by saying he’s been spending more time in nursing homes and that we should all revel in our parent’s and grandparent’s memories.  Unfortunately, for us, it’s too late.  They are all gone.  I was 14 when my great-grandmother died and I would never have thought to sit down with her and record her memories and thoughts.

Now it’s too late with grandma.  Even more unfortunately is that this really did come out of nowhere because my great-grandmother had no issues with her memory and neither did my great-uncles.  We don’t know about my grandfather as he died too young to know if he would have developed dementia or not.

So take the time with your older family members and record some of their history.  You never know when you might want it!

A Bed!

CCAC finally got off their behinds and went to work!

The new home, the one we wanted, is admitting two residents per day, per unit.

CCAC called my mom last Wednesday, finally, and talked to her.  This was the first chance my mom had to tell them what has been happening, including having been slapped.

That seemed to light a fire!  Thursday they called back and finally the call came from the home on Friday… they have a bed for grandma, you haven’t toured the place yet, can you come this afternoon for that tour?  We’d like to meet her.  She even gave us the room number!

So we went for the tour, with grandma, who thought we were there for an open house.  She thought it was lovely and looked like a hotel.  She even asked if there were any university student who stayed there…  This is what I mean.

My mom, though, was, and is, devastated on one hand.  She is worried because she said she would look after her mom forever.  I pointed out that, really, she is looking after her mom forever!  It is in grandma’s best interests to be in a home.  They’ll look after her there.  They’ll see signs of bladder infections even before we can.  They will wash her everyday (much to her chagrin!) and she will get an actual bath once or twice a week!  Maybe she won’t get bladder infections anymore at all!

So it took a lot and grandma’s behaviour so far this weekend I think is helping to compound it… making my mom realize and see that this IS for the best.

And the place really is beautiful.  It’s decorated nicely.  They seem to have taken everything into consideration including a small area that families can book ahead so we could have Christmas there if we wanted to (though that’s probably already booked!).

She checks in on Friday morning.  I was debating taking the morning off to be there for my mom.  My dad said he would too so we have to discuss that.  It’s going to be hard for both of them and you can’t make grandma realize that she’s there because it’s for the best.  That she needs care that we can’t provide.

Yes, she will be missed sitting her chair but we can speak at normal volumes, we can discuss other things.

My daughter and I had some major devastation happen in our front yard.  Someone set fire to the dollar store in the plaza next door on Friday afternoon.  We had to get our pets and ourselves out for the night so we went to my parent’s house.  It was in the paper yesterday morning and she read all about it.  By last evening, when we saw it on the news, she said she knew nothing about it.  It’s so very unfortunate and sad.

Onto a new chapter…

I really wish the CCAC workers had to actually deal with their own family member(s) because I can bet they would want something done really fast!

Yesterday, grandma hit my mom.  My mom has said so many times that she didn’t think grandma would ever hurt her despite my warnings.  The biggest question I ask myself now is what do I do about it?  Nobody seems to want to listen, or make an effort to do anything about it!  Do I make another attempt to call or fax the doctor?  What else can she do?  She could start the antidepressants which might help some.  I know she seems to be in the throes of another bladder infection but how many excuses does my mom need to make?

All of grandma’s behaviour still has me wondering what she was like as a child… was she spoiled because she was the only girl?  Her father was her favourite and she told my mom that she and her mother didn’t get along well when she was young.  Again I wish my great-grandmother was still here to ask.  Again I wish that I was a wiser thirteen-year-old and could have thought to ask then.  But at thirteen you don’t think of the adults around you getting older.  You don’t think of them falling apart like this… especially grandma as nobody else in the family had Alzheimer’s.

So I find myself in a dilemma, wondering what to do.  My mom can’t keep going through this and my mom can’t keep making excuses.  Bladder infection or not, I don’t care.  This behaviour is hiding beneath the surface and with each infection she has, it seems to take another chunk out of her brain.

The new home opens tomorrow for admissions and I so wish that she’d be one of the ones going.

My mom didn’t send her to the day program today because of the bruises she has.  She almost fell twice going through the sliding doors so has bruises from hitting her arms on the door frame, then later she hit my mom who, in turn, reached out and grabbed her hands to stop her from doing it again.  Grandma’s skin is so thin that she bruises that easily and my mom didn’t want them to think she was abusing her… they’d know by now if that was the case, she’s been going for a couple of months now with no marks.  Sometimes s**t happens and most medical staff (I being one of them) know that.

But it’s so hard to day-by-day watch her recede into the unknown… to become someone we don’t recognize and vice versa.

It’s incredibly sad and nobody will do anything to help.


It’s been a while, again, I know!

There’s always so much to tell but yet so little.

Grandma had another bladder infection which sent her off the rails even more than usual.  The not-so-unusual but unusual-to-us that came of that was that she doesn’t seem to have come back around, it’s like it fried another part of her brain.

She has been wanting to leave, again.  So Thursday evening my dad suggested that we let her leave; follow her, but let her go out the door.  So when grandma said she was going to head home my mom just said “whatever, go, goodbye” and grandma proceeded to walk out the door.  My dad slipped his shoes on and headed out after her, staying a bit of a distance behind.  I have to add in here that she is extremely poor on her feet.

It was about the time for my daughter and I to leave anyway so we got into our SUV and followed behind while my mom got into theirs and did the same.

I ended up passing the situation and she did pretty good until she was about a small block and a half away from the house when she stopped the first time at one of those phone/cable boxes that appear here and there on people’s boulevards.  My dad ducked behind a tree at the last minute as grandma leaned on this thing trying to catch her breath and looking around.  A moment or two later she was off again but staggering quite badly.  I had gone ahead and turned around initially and come back, meeting mom on the other side of the street who was concerned grandma was going to fall and break a hip… an unfortunate possibility and one that would not actually teach grandma a lesson.

She made it the length of that street before she had to stop at a fire hydrant and lean once again to catch her breath.  By this point I had quickly circled around and come back and my mom had parked and was getting out and asking grandma if she wanted to fall, break something and end up in hospital.  Grandma was in tears.  She said that she thought she just had to walk a block and she’d be at Columbia St.  We can’t really relate anything specific to Columbia St. other than it was the northern most border of our city way back in probably the early 60s.  From there she would be able to walk a very long long block and be “home” if that’s where “home” was in her mind… good chance it was.

So we have a better idea what she’ll do if she walks out.  The biggest concern being a fall or someone else watching us following this old lady and calling police!  Always a secondary but potential problem because grandma certainly can’t tell them who we are!

All fingers are crossed that she gets into the home when it opens at the end of this month.  She needs to be there.  She needs that kind of care and mom needs the mental break or she’s going to break.  This entire thing has almost broken my parents apart.  Much more and my dad will be sleeping on the couch, the house will be for sale and I will be spending Christmas’s in two places!

Can I get out?

Grandma has become incredibly restless again.  She wants to leave, she wants to go “home”.  However, she can’t tell us where “home” is.

I don’t expect her to.  As I have said before, Alzheimer’s patients tend to have hallucinations and delusions so there are in their own little worlds, usually based on some memory or a time frame that they can’t tell us about because they don’t know who we are or we are made up to be part of that world.

And when I use the term “world” it’s not Star Wars it’s the fact that they are in a different time and place than we are.  We live in the real world in real time… they have regressed to another place and time.  It’s like when we had imaginary friends as kids–for a time, we resided in our own little world.

But they do it because their minds are telling them this is what they see and they can’t differentiate between old and new or that times have changed, vehicles look different, because they are seeing what they want to see.

Yesterday my parents took her to the trailer so they could cut the grass, look after the gardens, check in, etc. and they came home around 3:30.  That’s when grandma went into the backyard and when she came back into the house she asked my dad if she could get through the gate at the side of the house… No.

Then she asked him if he would move the wood at the front door so she could go out… No.

You live here.  This is your home.

No it’s not.  I need to go home and make dinner for my family.

My mom complains and tells my grandma that she’s been told a million times that she lives where she does and she’s not to go out the front door.

I know my mom says that out of frustration more than anything.  But it’s frustrating for me because it’s as if she doesn’t know any better.  She can tell her two million times and it’s not going to change anything.  If you’re telling her when she’s in her “world” it’s not going to go very far.  The times she’s lucid and you tell her, it’s going to disappear because she no longer has the ability to process and keep that information on file, nor does her brain know how to access it!

This past Thursday there was an “incident” with the babysitter.  It should be reported but it’s not going to be, for the time being.  I ride a fine line between being a health-care provider and a daughter and my mom has to realize that sometimes those lines get crossed when it comes to her expectations.

I have written a letter to CCAC, I just have to edit it and run it by my mom before I send it.  Something needs to get their attention and something needs to happen.  She needs to get on the short, short list!

It’s frustrating when you get left on your own to deal with these things!

What a Change…

The week grandma spent in respite went really well for my parents.  They went to the trailer and enjoyed themselves immensely.  It was like another world.  A different world.  The world the way it should be.

Grandma also did quite well.  The staff apparently love her and think she’s so cute.  Hmmm… insert large question mark here!  How does someone who causes so much misery at home be that sweet elsewhere?  Is she bitter in her lucid moments?

When she has been at home though she’s driving my mom crazy.  She basically expects my mom to sit there and just watch TV all day.  If my mom naps grandma does something to wake her up and then says “it’s about time you woke up!”

My mom also moved her bed upstairs to an empty bedroom.  Before she went to respite for the week she was bitterly complaining that “they had her sleeping downstairs so that if someone breaks into the house at night she’ll be the first one to be murdered!”  Sometimes it’s hard to believe what comes out of her mouth.  It’s also hard to believe that roughly 50 years ago this is a woman who more than likely never locked her doors!  Not at night, not when going to work or church or out for the myriad other activities!  It was just not practiced!

She is always calling my mom “mummy” now for everything.  My mom serves her breakfast and gets “thank you mummy”.  It goes on and on and in some ways, it’s creepy!

As for the week-long respite–she thought she was at another Christian Endeavour meeting!  Insert huge eye roll here!  But she did, apparently, have an episode one evening when she was insisting on going home to see her parents… it was a relief to know that she did that because it helps to cement the disease in my mom’s eyes.  It’s hard, sometimes, for me because I understand it better.

I’m glad my dad looked up the disease.  He did define it quite well the other night… it’s as though a thick substance (think tree sap or something else gooey and yucky) is poured onto the brain and it seeps through all the cracks and crevices we associate when we think of the anatomy of the brain.  It prevents communication between all the brain cells and various parts of the brains… it doesn’t allow the synapses to fire properly.  As I said in a previous blog, hallucinations and delusions become common because the person gets the “picture” of somewhere near and dear to their heart, in grandma’s case, church, and then the brain can’t tell them that this is a memory and so they think that is what they’re seeing so that is where they are!

it reminds me of Harry Potter when in the first book Mr. Ollivander, the wand maker, tells Harry that the “twin” to his wand gave him that scar and that He-who-must-not-be-named did great things… terrible, but great.  It’s like Alzheimer’s in a way… fascinating disease but horrible!!

So now my mom is “stuck” with her until July 31 when she gets a weekend respite again.  CCAC has made no contact whatsoever, not even for an update.  Can’t even be bothered to ask how things are going, nothing!  My mom finds it difficult to call them because my grandma is always there and, despite being deaf, hears every word!  I might have to fax off yet another letter!


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 229 other followers