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Dementia Care

Discussion in 'Society and Culture' started by ethics, Oct 5, 2018.

  1. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

  2. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    My mother was in the arms of dementia when she passed at age 86 of a stroke. She had bought an apartment in an aging facility 13 years prior. When she first moved there she was in the independent class of residents. She did not have to check out or in but was asked to if she was to be gone overnight. Each resident did have to pull on a cord that electronically told the staff they were up for the day. I think that they were checked on if they had not pulled the cord by 10 AM. Minimum age was 60.

    Many if not most of the residents still drove and had their own parking space when they moved in. There was a dining room and each member had a meal plan. When you were an independent resident you could choose to have only one meal in your plan. If residents did not eat their meal they accumulated meals. They could have guests for the meals and no money was exchanged at the dining hall. At the end of month each resident was charged or any extra meals or were told how many extra meals had accumulated. I had at least 40 meals a year there while my Mom was a resident, every Saturday when I was in town. And my brother and I and our wives visited her frequently during the week.

    Eventually my brother and I, the only sibs living in town, convinced Mom to quit driving. We had gone with her and had a couple close calls but it still took several months before she agreed. I believe she had a real bad scare that finally convinced her. My brother and I had discussed the court route for taking her license but naturally did not want her to feel demeaned so were quite relieved when she voluntarily gave up her car. Our deal included being at her beck and call when she needed to be driven somewhere. The residence did have a van that went to local malls or grocery stores on a scheduled basis.

    Mom had a computer. At one point she needed a new one so my siblings chipped in and bought her a computer. When I asked what my share was they told me my share was to be technical support. I think that as time went by I offered my in town brother a thousand dollars to take over her tech support. He laughed and said that was the best thing he ever did. She delighted in reading jokes on the internet or in emails and then printed them out for her friends. Of course she would not print out just the joke, she would print out the entire page that could have been forwarded a dozen times. She went through a lot of paper.

    The first signs of dementia were the repeating of the same stories over and over. Not a solid sign because as we all age we will not always remember who we told the story to and who we had not. Mom never did quit remembering who we were when we visited. Just months before she died she met her newest great grandchildren, including my granddaughter.

    The facility also had a section for those who needed more care. When Mom quit remembering her medicine I had begun to use the pill reminders that have a place for each pill and you could have reminders for morning, evening, and bedtime. So I would fill these every Saturday when I went for lunch. When we found that Mom was emptying them and refilling them in error we started talking to her about moving to the Assisted Living section. There your pills are brought to you and you eat in a dining hall within that section although you were permitted to go to the mail hall. You had to pay more if your meal plan was 1 meal a day since in that section you had to have a two meal a day plan since your room did not a kitchen. I forgot to mention that residents bought their apartments and they could be anywhere from one bedroom to three and had kitchens and living rooms. In assisted living there was only one room and no kitchen.

    Mom kept repeating stories and forgetting some facts. I stopped correcting her when I realized it was causing her stress to be corrected all the time. I persuaded my sibs to also stop correcting her. She would not remember the correction the next time she told the same thing so there was no point in causing her distress. Naturally we are not talking about safety issues.

    When Mom had her stroke my brother and I were called to facility on a Friday afternoon. She had been found sitting on her walker in the middle of a hall not knowing where she was. We took her to the hospital where they said she had a stroke. They wanted to transfer her to another hospital. We had to insist on knowing why before they told us it was to have surgery to have the blood clot removed from her brain. Mom had a directive on file that precluded any such measure to prolong her life. We had her transferred to the hospice part of the hospital when she passed 5 days later with her whole family around her.

    There is no part of the last years of her life that I would have missed. She repeated things and forgot details but still had an amazing sense of humor and could always express her love for us. Up until the last couple years we still played games with her and she could still beat us more than half the time in Boggle or Scrabble.

    I do and will always miss her.
     
    Allene, Arc and ethics like this.
  3. MemphisMark

    MemphisMark Old School Conservative

    I never got moments like that with my parents. I was 750 miles away, deep into my own illness and unable to travel when twilight came to them. In a few days, it will be the 17th anniversary of my fathers passing. My mom died 113 days earlier. The last time I saw my parents was 1999, right after Mom had a radical mastectomy. I grabbed my son Friday night and hauled ass for 14 hours to get there, then hauled another 14 hours to get back home for work on Monday. :(:(:(

     
    Allene likes this.
  4. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Tough reads, fellas... I am sorry for the cards dealt to you. :(
     
  5. Allene

    Allene Registered User

    What a lovely story about your mother, Shiny! She was fortunate to be surrounded by a loving family in a very good place. My mother had the same type of dementia. She had home care for the first three years, then went into a good nursing home for six months until she died at 89, four months before her 90th birthday.

     
  6. MemphisMark

    MemphisMark Old School Conservative

    I forgot to mention this. My Mom spent the last months of her life in a nursing home. My parents had been sleeping in separate bedrooms for years after I left home. My Mom, who had multiple strokes, started getting delusional that Dad had a girlfriend sleeping with him (my mom was 77 at the time, my Dad 84). Well, one night she had enough, went to the kitchen, got a butcher knife and went to my Dad's room to solve the situation. Luckily, no one was hurt.

    My Mom went to a nursing home the next day. My Dad drove 30-45 minutes each way, every day, to be with her every moment possible.
     
  7. Allene

    Allene Registered User

    My mother thought my poor brother-in-law was trying to steal her money. Paranoia goes with the disease.
     

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