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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Sad Alzheimers

      My mother has Alzheimer's, which is a horrible horrible disease.  Before this affected our family, I was under the impression that this demonstrated itself in such a manner that someone didn't recognize family members. Like in the show "The Net", the mother of the main character was a calm sweet lady that played the piano but didn't recognize her daughter.  It's ever so much more than that, oh such much more.
      I went and visited my mother yesterday, she always recognizes me but is in a state of confusion about everything else.  Her vocabulary is leaving fast and she is frustrated that she can't express herself and she doesn't always understand what I am trying to tell her.  I can tell by her facial expression that she has no clue what I am saying and sometimes she is almost in a trance and just answers, "yeah".   She is in a continued state of looking for her old house and asks me to help her ( this just started about one month ago).  She believes it is nearby and is very angry she can't find it.  I don't believe even if she sees her old house she would recognize it and would continue to search for it.  She asked me if I went looking for her at her old place and she wanted to show me where she "slept last night".   She is in a near panic if anyone goes near her room and becomes very aggressive towards them.  Since she is a hoarder, she is in constant need to take things, and hide them in her room.  (I know, it makes no sense that she hides things in a room that she doesn't believe is hers, that again is a part of the disease).  I found the shopping cart that the staff uses for supplies hid in her bathroom, enough said.
       On Wednesday I was there with my husband, we walked her into the lobby area to have her hair done by the beautician that arrives each week.  I do like to visit on Wednesdays, all the residents have new hair do's and things are just a little bit more positive. She was uncomfortable in the beauty shop and was ready to go back as soon as she sit down in the chair.  We were only able to convince her to stay long enough for a shampoo and a quick cut.  She doesn't seem to care about primping or even hygiene. When we had arrived, she had been sitting on a sofa with a gentleman resident and several other residents and couldn't wait to get back to them.  After her hair was done (almost done) we walked her back to the sofa area but she didn't recognize it and told us that wasn't where she was at.  She told us she was in a "field" with a "boy" and keep looking for it.  We walked her everywhere inside the facility and even returned to the lobby to retrace our footsteps, all the time with her getting more frustrated.  We couldn't convince her that this was where she was at when we showed up.  I left feeling as frustrated as her because I couldn't soothe her and almost felt that our visit was a mistake.  I have such a range of emotions constantly with her and away from her.  I hear that she asks anyone that resembles me if they are her daughter, so I know I am her constant and I need to be there for her.
       I think the hardest issue is  the fact that the residents are frustrated and looking for old family members, they don't understand why they can't go "home" and are in a nightmare of always being lost.  Of course this doesn't happen 24/7 but I never know when it just hits any of the residents.  I have gotton to know them and I try to learn the right answers (sometimes nothing) to satisfy them and help them to be calmer and happier.  But right now there is no right answer for my mother.

1 comment:

  1. This is such a hard thing for both patient and family. My heart goes out to you as I read your post. BTW thanks for the follow, I'll be following back on Linky. I was scrolling through posts and this one caught my attention. Hugs.


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