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Old 12-26-2012, 07:01 PM   #16
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Re: My 87-year-old dad has recently been diagnosed with vascular dementia.

Hello Randy:

How was your Christmas?

What an amazing time when we all can connect with our feelings from any part of the world with this type of medium that wasn't around in our parents time. That's why I really love this unique support group because I think that we all can recognize ourselves!

Deb and Judy have shed some terrific light on this dis-ease. Notice I wrote it as dis-ease because we are all afflicted as a caregiver or persons with this disease.

I agree about formulating your own resource network including lawyers, support groups, physicians, social workers, caregivers, family, friends, neighbours and Alzheimer/Dementia associations & organizations.

I connect with your undying love for your parent….

I feel a tremendous love and gratitude for my mother who has been officially diagnosed with "Mixed" Dementia last February 2011. A single mother who raised three children and made us the first generation to attend University in our family. A woman who sacrificed her own happiness to make sure that we wouldn't have to suffer, that we could truly strive for our own happy lives. An immigrant who moved away from her parents to live in another part of the world completely different from her own. Both parents worked hard, making their lives as normal as they could. My mother, who restarted her life in a new country with many ups and lots of downs. I want to be there for my mother but feel as helpless as she is at times and realize how important it is to be honest with these feelings as I learned from my Alzheimer/Dementia support group. None of us signed on to become parents to our parents.

I'm often told and reminded how fortunate I am to still have my parents. The people that have told me this have lost their own parents at a younger age and did not have the years that I have still have with mine. So I am currently creating audio recordings of my mother since she is alive to remember some of those precious memories. These memories, stored deep in her mind, help us both to relive and share important moments in time….

This time is your time to decide what you want and need to think through as you embark on this tumultuous journey of caring for your father. Or about what you need to consider right now because none of us planned or were prepared for this onslaught of challenges that will bear down on you with an intensity and weight you simply won't anticipate.

I am still proud, but afraid and confused about my new role and obligations for my mother. My parents raised my brother and I with values and family plus social expectations that have radically changed my life forever. I connect with your challenge of helping your parent. It's a tough balancing act, with no set rules and a myriad of confusing choices.

I hope that this forum and connecting with others who are dealing with the same kind of problems you're facing or will face will encourage you to cherish the past, live the present and plan for the future and help you how to deal with it rather than stand by and wait to be blindsided by the course of events.

You are a loving wonderful child!

Janet

 
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Old 12-28-2012, 07:23 PM   #17
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Re: My 87-year-old dad has recently been diagnosed with vascular dementia.

My mom was notorious for the freezer full of food. When my Aunt would visit my mom and I'd ask her to poke around and make sure she has enough food (because my mom was always acting like she was starving) she'd say "her freezer is FULL" of food. It was only later that I finally realized the full freezer was a sign she wasn't eating. Every time my mom claimed she had empty cupboards and I needed to rush her to the store, it was because she was out of canned soup, the only thing she'd been eating for months (when I wasn't feeding her). And this was all while I thought she was healthy, if not just a little depressed and eccentric.

My mom is now Stage 6 probable Lewy Body Dementia and Stage 5 for Parkinson's (wheelchair bound, difficulty speaking and swallowing), and let me tell you, SHE STILL MAKES SENSE TO ME. I think this is something we need to share with each other, especially people embarking on this journey:

They will sound like they make sense, and it will trick you!!!

I don't know if it is the part of their brain that still works just well enough to string coherent thoughts throughout the mess, or OUR brains that automatically fill in rationalizations for irrational thoughts, but I swear, she continues to trick me to this day, and I understand her behavior and disease better than anyone, doctors and caregivers included.

It sounds mean, but sometimes I still have to remind myself that it's just a trick, you can't listen to her. They will convince us of anything because we love them and want to make them happy. We fall to jelly. It's Jedi mind tricks. We totally understand where you're coming from, those early months when you're so caught between what is happening, what is appropriate, and how your relationship is changing. My heart goes out to you.

Annie

 
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Old 12-28-2012, 09:24 PM   #18
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Re: My 87-year-old dad has recently been diagnosed with vascular dementia.

I'm having some of the same questions go through my mind with my Mom. She is 91 years old and living in a "senior" apartment complex that does her meals & has someone clean her apartment. My brother calls her twice a day to remind her to take her medications. I have to do her laundry now & she has to be told to take a bath. She doesn't change her clothes on a daily basis, meaning she puts the same thing on each day unless I tell her not to. I'm trying to figure out what kind of help she needs. It is becoming more and more taxing on myself especially. She isn't going to like other people doing things for her.

Good luck with your situation. Mom seems to forget more and more every week!

 
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Old 12-28-2012, 09:37 PM   #19
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Re: My 87-year-old dad has recently been diagnosed with vascular dementia.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Annieland View Post
They will sound like they make sense, and it will trick you!!!

I don't know if it is the part of their brain that still works just well enough to string coherent thoughts throughout the mess, or OUR brains that automatically fill in rationalizations for irrational thoughts, but I swear, she continues to trick me to this day, and I understand her behavior and disease better than anyone, doctors and caregivers included.

It sounds mean, but sometimes I still have to remind myself that it's just a trick, you can't listen to her. They will convince us of anything because we love them and want to make them happy. We fall to jelly. It's Jedi mind tricks.

Annie
Annie, do you mind elaborating more on what you meant? Maybe an example? I think I get you, but I want to be sure. Thanks!

 
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Old 12-28-2012, 10:16 PM   #20
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Re: My 87-year-old dad has recently been diagnosed with vascular dementia.

Sorry, it's so hard to articulate what I'm thinking when it comes to dealing with dementia. I don't mean that she's intentionally "tricking" me, but it's that feeling, after you have a long conversation with a loved one with dementia, and it could be a tone of voice, a familiar manner of speaking, or just a sensible point being made, and for a bit of time you forget they have dementia. And maybe you agree to let them keep their credit card, or their car keys, or that new coffee maker...

I'm relating to Randy's posts, where his dad is clearly impaired, having major delusions, and probably getting to the point where he needs a lot more help. Yet somehow he still has his car keys. Randy, with all the best of intentions, came armed with all the right arguments, and dad still took the upper hand. As much as I'm "in charge" of my mom, it is not unheard of for me to just suddenly buckle under her demands/requests/rationalizations.

The simplest of examples is when my mom would try to explain to me why she needed to purchase something. She can get so good at convincing me of something that I know isn't sensible, that I eventually start to believe it and consent. It's like a high-pressure sales tactic or con-man approach. Now that I finally took all spending ability away from her, she has called me begging for things she absolutely NEEDS me to purchase for her. I say no to almost everything now because I've learned over the past 3 years how to toughen up and tell her what ever she needs to hear, just as deb routinely recommends. It just takes a while to get to that point, I think. In the meanwhile, they continue to convince you that it is absolutely inappropriate for you to take away their car keys, and when you start to question yourself and think maybe they have a good point, that's the "It's just a trick!!" I'm talking about.

If I'm still sounding as batty and confusing as my mom, I guess I shouldn't be surprised .

Annie

 
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Old 12-29-2012, 07:39 AM   #21
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Re: My 87-year-old dad has recently been diagnosed with vascular dementia.

Part of that is they are our parents and will always be our parents. I so want to believe my Mom when she tells me she's done something but then I remind myself that she doesn't even remember if she has done it. She threw sheets away last week because she said she didn't own any blue sheets. She had gotten them for Christmas a year ago but couldn't remember ever seeing them. When she got her hair done last week, they gave her a permanent. I asked her if she'd gotten her hair done later that evening (I already knew the answer because i had talked to the beautician). Mom said no, she hadn't gone down. I told her to feel her hair and did it feel tight with curls. She said no, it didn't so then I told her to stand up and go look in the mirror. She did and then said.....oh, well, I guess I did but I didn't remember being there. It kind of breaks my heart that she can't remember stuff like that. I will probably have to figure out what to do on care since she had problems with taking baths or remembering too. She says she did but the towels aren't unfolded so I know she didn't. I finally ran the bath water and waited in her apartment while she took one. Frustrating! Oh so sad also!

 
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