I know most or all of you already have experience with this, but for us it is new. Mom has mixed up names before, and even I do it sometimes, but today for the first time she misnamed a common object.
I can't find my glasses, she said ...No problem. I will help you look.
Searched a bit and there they were , on the kitchen table.
No not that. I am missing my ... hesitation .. my .... ..then "KEYS." Keys? Your keys are right here under the lamp where they always are, but you don't need them. I was home, and we aren't going anywhere, Bill is coming over with dinner he cooked!
Mom looks confused. I meant KEYS. That's OK, You meant keys, but you said glasses. No big deal. No, that's this problem I have, I am all mixed up.
Don't worry you will be OK...There will always be someone with you to help you when you get confused. You will not be alone. Don't worry.
But she is worried.
Mom was taken to church again and I spent 3 hours cleaning and sorting out 'stuff, ' hers and mine. What a pain on such a lovely day! I went down to sit on the stoop and wait for her, so I got 15 minutes of sunshine. I am glad Mom went out, and the church gave her a large bunch of ***** (the word for this common Spring plant seems to have been deleted, how strange!!) willows, and they also had coffee and cake.
Now waiting for Bill, who is bringing Sunday Lunch over.. we say Breakfast, dinner (if it's a hot meal, otherwise lunch) and supper. Nevwr 'dinner ' for the evening meal. Is htis a NY thing or a German thing? Other people say breakfast, lunch and dinner ..
Last edited by Martha H; 04-17-2005 at 09:46 AM.
Reason: word deleted, why??
Oh, honey, I know about the concern over lost words. Mom was so dismayed and upset as she went through this. You did handle the situation with your mother very well. Again, it's sad, but true that it will get worse until there is no dismay, just less talking. If you think it's important, keep a record of word lost, substituted word, and date.
Will your mother's favorite music distract her from her worries? If so, maybe that's a method of helping her not worry. How nice of Bill to bring a meal, be it dinner or supper, or tea!! Bill's visit will be a good distraction for your mother.
The words deleted here are a mystery to me. Mom's name was Dorothy and the nickname for that was deleted here. Go figure.
Today is just beautiful in Virginia and we have the windows open. The lilacs are blooming and the air is perfumed. Delightful!! Barb, open your windows for a little while. Then at least the air in the house will be fresh air that takes a while to heat up.
We did have a lovely time with Bill. he took time out of his busy life to cook a meal for us, roast beef and mashed potatoes, and I supplied red cabbage and lemon bundt cake. We sat around and talked for hours. Anna had her book club today.
Bill in his usual way said all the right things. Mom said she is not happy about the move. He said you know I feel the same way. I hate to leave my house of 34 years. But Anna wants to be the baby sitter, when In. goes back to work, and she hates to drive on the busy highways, so she would wind up staying out there for 5 days a week. I would never see my wife OR my grandchild .. so I feel I HAVE to move. Then there are so many good things too about the new house. Walking distance to stores, walking distance to the countryside.
One extra room! If you had come to our house in Queens, you would have had the room Anna now uses as her office. The new house has an extra room so she has her offfice AND you have your room!
It's only 6 blocks from Fr and I's swimming pool ..all summer you can swim every day!
I will take walks with you and show you how to get everywhere until you get the hang of it .(of course an aide will be employed to go with her ) ..and IF you are willing you can help me unpack all our stuff, dishes, etc.
I asked her if she would like to go through her clothes with me one day and donate stuff to GoodWill ..and she was very negative. "I already gave things to the church for their bazaar" (that was 5 yrs ago) so Bill said "the closet in your room is huge! You will get all your things into it easily!"
He is so good, he should have been a psychologist. Well in a way he was, 32 yrs teaching in Brooklyn, 6 of them as Dean of Students ...
It was a good day and I am feeling happier. Mom had a few lapses, didn't follow the conversation, mentioned again that 'when I move to your house in Elmhurst - where it isn't - but where her brother lived until 1972 ...but he overplayed all of it with small talk and never corrected anything...
I am glad he is on my team! Elsie did not answer or send a check.
Last edited by Martha H; 04-17-2005 at 01:22 PM.
I lived in Elmhurst, too, from 1962 until 1969. Small world! Where did your uncle live? I lived near the intersection of York and Butterfield Rds. I graduated from York HS and had a part time job at Elmhurst Hospital briefly while in high school.
So glad that you had a good time with Bill. He sounds like a gem! How very kind of him to be so sweet to mother and try to make the upcoming events a positive experience for her.
Do you think it would be easier for her to move if she left the apartment and went to visit Bill in the new house, then her belongings just appear in her room there while she's out swimming or something?? She'd never actually have the sad experience of leaving her home for the last time. It would be sneaky, but might be kinder, and it would take a really coordinated effort. I think she would not be distressed as long.
So sorry Moooo is acting like a toad. Ribbit. With her it seems like money is everything. Wonder if her husband knows she's quit paying her tiny share? Might they be having money troubles? What a shame.
Hi Barbara! My Mom's sister, and her brother, with spouses and children all lived in Elmhurst from around 1946 - post war building boom - to the early 70s. They lived around 82 Street and Elliot Avenue. Both families moved to South Carolina when the Textile Industry moved down there ... none of us have been there since, yet Mom told Bill today, "the people in my church told me they will still pick me up and take me to church when I live in Elmhurst!" It is not all that far from Astoria ..whereas F'dale is an hour each way. Bill said, "there are 2 churches within walking distance of the new (not brand new!) house, one is C the other is L. You could attend either one. We'll drive in to your old church now and then." He didn't say 'NOT Elmhurst', or 'no one will drive that far.' ..he knows just how to do it!
He is in a financial bind because he signed a contract to buy, but his present house buyer is stalling. He has to take out an equity loan, and hopes not for too long. He could use the money Elsie owes.
Meanwhile he took the last 2 packages of my things and will send them to my daughter tomorrow. The PT job he has involves packing and shipping, so he can send my stuff at good rates. Whatever I have left here I will carry with me, wear, or throw out! The 'bad word' willows look nice in a vase on the table. Spring is here! We had 60s today, windows wide open, warm sun shining.. daffodils are out, forsythia, trees in blossom. I am so glad the icy winter is over.
Yes, I think she ought to go there for a little visit ..on June 12, and a few days later they will move her furniture in. That would be perfect.. No big goodbyes to this apartment ... Hope it works out that way!
Last edited by Martha H; 04-17-2005 at 03:58 PM.
Hi! I think Martha's talking about Elmhurst, NY. But I live not far from where you lived, Barbara. I think we "talked" about it before.
Martha, I'm glad you enjoyed your dad with mom and Bill.
I took som cold medicine and I'm very sleepy now so if I don't make sense, please forgive me. I've had about 6 hours of sleep total in the lasy two days. I just got home from work and I'm lookimg at a pile of dishes. No dishwasher. Oh yeah there is-me. lol
I'm counting down the days till Friday, 7am. That's when I leave for Missouri.
Yes, Elmhurst NY, one of the many towns that comprise the borough of Queens.
I just checked my email and still nothing from Elsie, I wonder if they at least wrote to Bill...
Hope your cold gets better soon, Barb.
After I told Esther to give Mom a bath, which I suppose was embarassing to Mom when Esther said 'your daughter told me to," she is putting the bath stool in the tub every night and hanging a towel on the line over the tub .. I don't know how she can climb into the tub without hep nor am I sure if she is doing so...but it is strange how her mind now works. Yesterday she took a bath in the morning and it looks like again in the evening ..I was so knocked out that I went to bed earlier than Mom, but stayed awake until I heard her coming through not long afterwards. I don't know if the bath paraphernalia is a trick or if she is bathing more often, but unfortuantely she smells just as bad .. I think the manufacturers of these stools have to try harder... it does not allow her to wash the place most in need... anyone who needs such a stool is obviously not able to stand up to shower and not able to sit down deep in the tub ...it also worries me that she could fall getting in or out of the tub.
Oh in some ways I can just barely wait until June 12th! Then others will be responsible if she falls. I can just hear my sister saying "YOU went to bed and left Mom alone in the bathroom?? How could you!" if anything were to happen .. while she maintains Mom is perfectly normal.
My MIL is the same way. She has to use a bath stool because she can't stand up long enough to shower and she can't sit in the tub. She's redoing her bathroom now and having the bathtub removed. They're replacing it with a large shower stall. She can't lift her leg up high enough to get in the tub. But still, the smell remains because she can't clean down there. It's not only because of the stool though. She's a very large woman and she can't reach. Her mind is prettty much intact but she's showing signs of needing assistance in that area too. She needs help with her checkbook from time to time and calls her sons different names sometimes. She's 75, very heavy (in the hospital last year, she was 412 lbs), diabetic with congestive heart failure. She doesn't watch her weight which everybody hounds her about but I leave her alone. At this point, eating healthy won't add much time to her life so why hurt her feelings like some of her kids do? It's just not worth it if she's going to be miserable.
June 12th is getting closer and closer. Your things have been sent to Indiana.
This whole issue of hygiene in old age needs a lot of new ideas. Even the Depends are not a big help in my Mom's case, since she is not incontinenet with urine, and that's mainly what they are for. She just can't tell if she is passing gas or something else. Or maybe it's a little of each. This type of mess is hard to clean up even with depends on, the only advantage is that you can throw them away ..we have also thrown away numerous cheap underpants. But how do we get her to wipe (I have a supply of wet wipes), clean, wash and keep that area clean? I am afraid that she might get some infection as well as making everyone around her nauseous.
Today I am thinking "I am so ready to get out of NY". It is beautiful out, sunny, even hot ..the streets are crowded, little or no green to be seen on this street outside of a few trees, garbage cans begin to smell, dog dirt is no longer removed by pooper scooper since the new mayor stopped enforcing that law -- I got home to noise below, people banging on the door and yelling for exactly half an hour because their friend who lives here didn't hear them - probably listening to his rap music per earphones for a change. I was ready to call the police but thought maybe it IS the police ...
NY is getting on my nerves. Soon it will be too hot to sleep. a/c in one bedroom helps cool 2, but not very well ...
At least the NIGHTS in Indiana are cooler ...
Last edited by Martha H; 04-18-2005 at 12:21 PM.
When you go outside. just think of the country feel of Indiana. You'll be seeing it soon.
The person who patents something that cleans as it protects clothing from a poopy mess would make a fortune, wouldn't they? Hey, how about a shower seat that's shaped like a toilet seat? It would have a hose that could be attached to the shower nozzle at one end and under the seat facing up on the other end. There could be a soap dispenser attached to it to spray soapy water when needed. Just press the button and spread the cheeks. lol
We had a poor little injured squirel in our backyard earlier. He fell out of the tree at least a couple of times. Poor thing. Our town doesn't collect injured animals so my dh had to catch him. He put in in our guinea pig's travel cage. I took him to a wildlife center in Glen Ellyn near where Barbara used to live (Elmhurst). They have a wildlife animal hospital there.
Wow, this is so weird. When I posted to you last is when my dh found the wounded squirel. Now, as I'm posting again, our county animal control just pulled up. Four hours after we called about the squirel, they came. I'm glad I took him to the wildlife center. I think this guy would have just killed him. Oh, I hope he'll be alright. It hurts my heart to see an injured animal.
Speaking of animals, I have to call the vet again for my dog. I need to refill her phenobarbitol. She has epilepsy. She also has hypothyroidism like me.
I just realized I haven't eaten all day. My cold seems to be a little better today. Let's hope it's gone before Friday.
Who knew there was an Elmhurst, NY??????? Not I. One of my good friends lives in Houston - Mississippi, not Texas. Oh well, I guess we cannot know everything. This means your mother wasn't as out to lunch as I thought, Martha. I wondered how she expected to get to church in NYC while living in Chicagoland!!
There is no easy answer to the cleanliness problem unless she lets someone else do it for her. That's what the staff at the assisted living facility did for my mother, but she didn't care by then.
8 weeks, 3 days.... but who's counting?!!!!! Just you and all of your cheering squad, that's all!
I actually saw a horseshoe shaped shower seat somewhere... open in the middle. The person could use a washcloth to get to the 'parts' needing a wash ...but all this is really irrelevant because it's not so much the technique of washing but NOT WANTING TO. Or, believing they JUST DID. This is far worse than the actual wash itself. If Mom would allow me to be in the bathroom with her, I would hand her a soapy washcloth ands say lean on me for a minute, get a way up and wash down there.
All I can do is say "go into the bathroom and wash , something smells bad" ...
Then , "well it's not me!"
Bill has already mentioned that, as she gets worse and worse, the Aide who comes to their new house (he is considering a different agency, cheaper) will not accompany Mom on buses or walks to Senior Centers or pools, but will bathe her, wash her hair, feed her, etc. BILL FULLY EXPECTS MOM TO GET MUCH MUCH WORSE. And expects and plans for the necessary care to be given in his home.
I on the other hand keep on hoping that her decline will be so slow that her end comes before she is in such a condition. While Elsie thinks she can go on like this until age 106 and never need any help except with 'names and dates."
But Mom is SO confused... I keep asking how could Elsie not have seen it in 3 weeks?? Right now she took a soapy mug out of the sink, where I had been soaking some dishes, and used it to make instant coffee...I don't think she rinsed it well or got the dried on coffee off ... it was from her breakfast.
She has not yet swallowed any coffee. I wonder if it will taste like soap, will harm her, or should I do nothing?? These are the everyday little problems. There are 15 clean mugs in the kitchen cabinet.
Just now she was looking for pants (I assume to wear tomorrow.) Where are my 'dungarees?" This is a word we used for blue jeans in 1949. I said do you mean your summer weight pants? You don't have any blue jeans. Yes I do, I wear them all the time, but I guess I left them in Ohio. (Only thick winter pants went on that trip.)
I got out several summer weight pants and hung them on her door hook. She was going through the 3 or 4 outfits I have left here on MY side of the door when I stepped in. Often I have come home to find her wearing my too big clothes, to the center, and all day, pants 6 inches too long ... not noticing or realizing it ..
This is the big problem of dementia ... irrational behavior, not learning from mistakes, making the same ones over and over, not able to see they did make a mistake or do something without thinking clearly. and a sense of fear and loss that seems to make them argumentive and angry at times, depressed at others.
Bill, Anna and I are now all on some kind of sleeping aid. Until this time of trials and changes is over, we need help to sleep. I am on Valerian, he is on Tylenol PM, and Anna is on a prescription sleep drug.
I don't think I ever mentioned this before: Anna is also suffering from a type of leukemia, Chronic Lymphatic Leukemia. She got the diagnosis in 1988. She lived with it and taught school until retirement age with it. But she is and was always tired. After school she went to bed. Bill cooked and cleaned and washed.
In the last 2 or 3 years her white blood count has become much better. Spontaneous remission or the prayers of the faithful .. she feels better. She started taking courses, joined a book club, went for long walks with Sam the Siberian Husky they have. Now she 'signed up' for newborn baby care starting in Sept when her daughter in law goes back to work, AND for MOMcare. Live in, sick, demented mother in law. Can she handle it? She told me Bill will do most of the work anyway, she will just have a little extra washing and cleaning. This is the reason they are hiring an Aide, even though they are both retired. This is also the reason why I feel so guilty and reluctant to give her this added burden, while at the same time knowing Mom will be better off in the big house, nearby bathroom, aide to help her wash and dress and keep clean, and 2 adults in the house except when Anna is baby sitting 6 blocks away ..all night and all weekend care from 2 people ..and I know for sure that I can't manage it alone NOW, never mind when Mom's Dementia progresses to worse and worse stages ..
I'll pray for Anna that her remission is permanent. I have an aunt who suffers from that too. She was told that she was going to die from it. They gave her 1 1/2 years. She's lasted much longer than expected. She is in remission and I consider her a miracle really. She's lasted so far about 2 years longer than the doctors gave her. And all the time she was going through chemo she worked a full time job and volunteered for everything at her church. She was 66 years old and still doing all of this. She even found the time to walk her dog 3 miles every day. She said the busier she kept herself, the less time she had to think about her bad health. She even refuses to talk about it.
Barbara, have you been enjoying the spring weather? It's been warm here the past few days. It was about 85 today and forcast 83 tomorrow. Chicago is still much cooler than here because of the breezes off the lake.
Well ladies, there's more to the squirel saga. I took my dog Nipsy for a walk and on our way back home, we saw a wayward baby squirel. I think the injured one may have been it's mama. The baby followed me and Nipsy (must have thought Nipsy was her mama) and even came up close enough to touch our neighbor's shoe. My neighbor put him under a bush where he can get some protection but I don't think he's going to live, poor thing. I'll be looking for him in the morning. That's the caretaker in me I suppose.
Martha, Bill knows what he's getting into. He's already been through this with Anna's mother. He probably could teach the pros a few things as I'm sure you could. Knowing what he's up against, I doubt that he would take on the responsibility if he wasn't sure if he and Anna were physically up to it.
You did everything you possibly could to take care of your mother. No one can do this job indefinitely. If our "caretakees" live long enough to travel the entire dementia path, most of us caretakers will have to do exactly what you're doing. That's because it's not humanly possible to continue with the demands of a lifestyle that revolves around dementia. And that's not even considering you're doing it alone AND you work. So Bill and Anna will have her for as long as they can. Trust that they'll know when they can't do it anymore and know that they wouldn't take on the responsibility if they even thought it would be too much.
Live, Love, Laugh.
Last edited by LuvMyLilDoggie; 04-18-2005 at 09:35 PM.