Dementia

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by fun21, Aug 22, 2011.

  1. fun21

    fun21 New Member

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    I just watched The Notebook for the first time. I felt I needed to share may feelings, and this is the only place I actually felt comfortable doing so.

    My grandpa has dementia, most days he is completely disoriented and doesn't know who any of us are. Its hard to believe that in 5 short years a man can forget who he is and who his family is. Instead of building in his shed and tending to his garden, he is confined all day in a wheel chair. Within the last year he no longer was able to sleep in the same bed as my grandmother, and now he is in a care facility and needs consistent supervision. The few times that he does recognize me, he cries the whole time, because his moments of memory are the moments that he knows he has forgotten mostly everything.

    I feel a bit better getting that out, and I think I might be ready for a good cry. I pray that none of you have to suffer because of diseases like Alzheimers and dementia. My heart goes out to you if do.
     
  2. SprinkleMe69

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    Give it a good cry. I feel for you I really do. I've been studying Psychology (my minor) and I'm amazed at all the neurogenesis studies/trials out there. Just know that people are working on cures for these diseases of the brain. It's good you spend time with him. Always leave a little something behind when you leave; some sort of token that he may recognize.
     
  3. parchissi

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    Thankyou for sharing your story with us - unfortunately Dementia has no respect of person and affects so many people - we have cases in our family too - all you can do is to have happy memories of your loved one - and talk to them - just don't sit there and say nothing - read to them and sing songs especially songs they grew up singing. Also have lots of photos of family around - all you can do is to make the person feel comfortable and at peace - even tho it may not be very fufilling for you - it will give you peace of mind knowing that you care. Also its important to be regular and stick to a schedule with your visits - go the same time everyday if thats possible. Its also important that you shave your grand dad and do his hair and keep him looking clean and tidy with clean clothes and put some cologne on his collar. We are with you and feel for you - don't give up on him even tho he may never respond more than tears at times - it is all worth it - right to the end. Thankyou again for sharing your story and feelings with us. All the best to you. Cheers.
     
  4. ManlyBanisters

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    I only have a limited experience of dementia, seeing my grandparents care for his mother. She was mostly happy and was able to retain autonomy for quite some time but I know in the later years of her dementia it was difficult for my grandfather to cope with the blank stares as his own mother failed to recognise him.

    She had a little dog and, while she was able to live in her own home, with a visiting home help and the support of my grandparents and my great aunt, I believe that caring for that dog gave her focus. From that I have taken the following, when a person is losing his/her autonomy through dementia something that allows him/her to feel he/she is not becoming a complete child again, something that needs him/her, can be helpful.

    I'm not suggesting you get your grandfather a dog - he may not be in a position to have a pet at all, but perhaps a goldfish in a bowl, something that needs his care, may give him a few moments of joy. Just a thought.

    The other thing I wanted to say is that you aren't alone in this at all. There are thousands and thousands of grandchildren, children, nieces and nephews, step-children, children-in-law and friends going through this with someone they love. Reach out - find a support group online or in your area. There are people there who want to help you, support you and share this with you.

    Best of luck. :hug:
     
    #4 ManlyBanisters, Aug 22, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2011
  5. Bbucko

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    Though I'm hardly at the dementia stage just yet, the 27+ years of living with HIV has caused a devastating cognitive impairment for me, relative to what I was at 35 (or even 41). Your grandfather is damn lucky to have you there with him; I can only hope that someday I get the same level of compassionate care that you provide.

    Added for truth: I've corrected this post four times before hitting reply. But I review every post before sending :wink:
     
  6. fun21

    fun21 New Member

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    Thank you guys, I appreciate all the suggestions. I never thought of leaving a token there, and there are definitely old songs and little rhymes from Portugal I could sing to him. He loves gardening, so we have some plants in his room he can water, but may be I'll run the fish idea past my family, he may enjoy seeing them swim around.
     
  7. AlteredEgo

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    On of my grandmother's has a form of dimentia. I think it is aggravated by her blindness. She can't see much, and I think she just fills in the blanks with these wild delusions. She insists upon living alone, and can pass psyche evaluations. She's crazy though. She doesn't remember my little brother at all. I tried for over an hour to explain that she is a great-grandmother, and that my brother has a new baby he wants to visit her. She still thinks my husband and I have a child. I had to leave it alone. She keeps asking about my mother and aunt, and an ex-girlfriend of my father's (my brother's mother). They all died. Every time I speak to her, the tragedy of their deaths is brand new for her. I hate hurting her over and over. I'm tempted to tell her they are all fine.

    My brother was so disappointed when I told him she doesn't remember him. My poor little nephew may never know the mettle he comes from. My grandmother defied the mafia and lived to tell about it. She knows the oral history of our family all the way back to her own great grandmother and great-grand aunt who ran from a plantation as small children and never looked back. She knows how to pay off a house in seven years, put two children and a grand-child through college and emerge debt-free, and is strong enough to hold fire in her hand without getting burned. Literally. I have seen her accidentally set fire to an oven mitt and refuse to put it own in the nearest sink because it would not be kosher, and she doesn't want to have to do a ritual cleaning.

    I worry. I also call her less and less. It's so painful. There is nothing I can do that she would let me do. I tried to convince her to stay with us for a while (figuring she would forget to go home- it is that bad). I have no idea how she fools doctors. She's not much of herself at all. I really miss her.

    fun21, I applaud your ability to be there for your grandad.
     
  8. breeze

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    The longer you live the higher the chance you will have alzheimers. But science now thinks that the heart and brain are connected. In other words what is good for the heart is good for the brain. And visa versa. UCSF has published a study listing the causes for alzheimers.
    In the United States.
    21% - physical inactivity
    15% - depression { what is real depression ? }
    11% - smoking
    8% - mid life hypertension
    7% - mid life obestiy
    7% - low education
    3% - diabetes
    The key or keys according to the medical study are a healthy circulation and the ability to cope with stress by asking for help and remaining positive. Also vitamin e , mental/physical exercise , omega-3 and antioxidants will prevent alzheimers. Other risk factors include head trauma early in life { DO NOT PLAY FOOTBALL } ,infectons , obesity and a poor diet. One of the best things you can do is walk daily. What is frightening is that these care facilities aren't free. They cost 5,000 dollars a month in some places. I see disturbed people of all ages every day in san francisco left to feign for themselves. I think everyone probably has or will have a relative or friend with alzheimers.
     
  9. yhtang

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    My father has had a few strokes and has dementia to boot. A CT scan had revealed that half his brain is definitely dead.

    My brother's family lives with him and my mother, so the old folks are not alone. I live about 5 minutes away from him, and I try to have dinner with him every night. And as often as possible, I have lunch with him too. My father seems to feel safe in this type of unchanging environment and routine.

    Oftentimes, people visit and ask my father if he can recognise them. When my father (invariably) fail to do so, they would the explain/describe how they are related etc. It feels to me that this behaviour hurts my father's feeling - as though my father likes not being able to remember who they are.

    Am I being too sensitive or are they insensitive? Frankly, I hope I die before I end up the way my father is now.
     
  10. erratic

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    Thank you for writing that, fun21. I'm in a very similar situation to you, and some days it's just more than I can handle.

    It really is like losing someone little piece by little piece.

    My heart goes out to you.
     
  11. FuzzyKen

    FuzzyKen New Member

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    Dementia is a major problem. My Mother developed Dementia over the last ten years of her life. Hers was not typical of Alzheimers in that she would come back 100% and could for a period of time and discuss who the current President of the United States was in detail and an hour later she would be talking to "that other lady" in the mirror.

    I cared for my Mother to the very end of her life, and I can tell you that depending on other factors it can be a problem beyond your wildest dreams. There are so many other things that go with it that few really realize.

    There are support groups for care givers dealing with this and if you are lucky you will find a good one.

    By the way, a good one is managed by a professional who keeps the discussion on focus and does not allow one or two members of the group to turn it into a "pity party" for themselves. If you find the "pity party" get away from that group. If you look hard there are usually multiple groups in most major cities worldwide.

    My personal advice is to not allow yourself to focus on things and to do everything you can to keep a sense of humor yourself.

    My other half and I reached the point that in order to keep our own sanity we started referring to my mother as "Sybil" because of the multiple personalities. When you walked into her room you never knew which one you were going to get and when it would shift gears into a different one.

    The main one I care about is you. Watching a loved one go down this pathway is not easy. Watching the care and the destruction of what we love is harder than that, and the fear that because we are a relative that we could end up in the same condition is always lurking too.

    Take Care friend.
     
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