||[Sep. 16th, 2014|12:20 pm]
Mary came round with a pot of damson jam and the village gossip. She hasn't seen my mother in several months and was talking to her as if she could still hear/recognise the personalities involved/follow a conversation. I found it painful to watch.|
My mother is quite good at pretending to understand what's going on around her. People who only see her briefly don't realise just how far out to sea she is.
This morning she insisted on putting her watch on before going downstairs. She never does that. It's a a tiny thing- but put it with all the other tiny things and it becomes evidence of how she's losing her grip on her own routines and rituals.
She still spends the morning with her newspaper. Increasingly she'll hand it across the table to me to have me explain a story or a picture. I'll say my piece, hand the paper back- and a minute later she'll repeat the request. We take her correspondence off her after she's looked at it once or she'd go over it again and again.
A friend of ours has Alzheimer's, and her daughter has been chronicling her decline on FB. It's a hard thing to watch.
My mother's condition hasn't been diagnosed, but the symptoms of decline are clear enough.
My father in his later stages started calling me by my mother's name (she'd been dead 2 years) and kept asking me to get into bed with him. THAT's really hard to deal with.
I've said that if my mother starts having difficulty getting undressed at night (and there are signs suggesting that she's moving in that direction) we're going to get a nurse in.
I used to take care of an elderly gentleman who lived in a duplex that he owned. He lived in one side, we lived in the other. However, previously, his brother had lived in our side (for about 40 years). The gentleman we cared for had found him dead in his bathtub about 5 years previous.
About once or twice a month, our charge would begin to look for his brother, ask if we had seen him, and ask us where we lived... did we live close by? Usually, we would just tell him that his brother had gone to live with his niece. It seemed kinder than to have to have him go through grieving his brother over and over again.
I've worked in geriatric care homes. I'll never forget the man who spend all his waking hours asking if his son had arrived to take him home.
Old age can be harsh.
At least he never gave up hope.
Is that really a worse state of being than the reality would have been?
I don't know. He lived- or seemed to live- in a state of continuous, unremitting anxiety.
My father worked in a geriatric care home where they had a garden with a bus stop set up in the middle of it. They'd reassure residents who were anxious about whether someone was coming to pick them up that they'd be picked up at the bus stop soon, and they'd tell people who were anxious about getting somewhere to meet someone that the bus would be coming very soon. So the residents would sit and after a while they'd forget, and just be sitting in a garden. Dad said it helped a lot to reduce stress and anxiety.
That's a really good idea.