| Photo via Google |
Toward the middle of 2010, my mom was diagnosed with Dementia with Lewy Bodies and Parkinsonism. For the last two years, we/I have been going about addressing only the Parkinson’s condition, with little focus on the dementia. This past year has been an eye-opener to the latter condition, and not in a most pleasant way. Today marks the 1 Year Anniversary of my mom moving in with us.
I love my mom very much, and it is so hard watching her slowly taken by a condition that systematically wipes her brain of everything and everyone she has ever known, right before my eyes. The most recent deterioration has been toileting. My mom wears an incontinence panty now, and requires full supervision in the bathroom for cueing to wipe and wash her hands. Although her bowels have not yet been affected, she is no longer capable of wiping herself after emptying them.
Thus far, my mom has been very docile and quiet. I’m aware that dementia will often bring aggressive behaviours in people, and I’m not looking forward to that. It’s hard to ignore, but there are times my mom does look at me with something I can best describe as contempt. It’s those moments I’m glad my mother often has difficulty stringing words together. I do understand it’s that kind of difficulty communicating which can trigger aggression, though.
It is a lot, and it’s been a long year. I’ve been burning out. As a result, I have recently applied to start receiving assistance from Alberta Health and have HomeCare come in daily to help us out. A sweet lady named Sarah has been coming, and she seems a good fit for my mom, which is wonderful for me. Sarah visits for 1-hour five days per week, and for 4-hours twice per week. I’ve also applied to have my mom attend a weekly day program for people with dementia. She will be grouped with other seniors and individuals with a similar condition to hers, and have an opportunity to interact with peers. My mom gets a lot of interaction with family here, but not with people her own age, so I’m liking the idea of her socializing a bit for an added boost to her well-being. She may not remember a solitary thing about any such adventure, but in the moment she’ll be having fun.
We both need these breaks, but as a caregiver, I recognize that I went much longer than I truly needed to to reach out for help.
My mom used to be so smart. She’s the reason I love to read and write. Dementia has robbed her of not only enjoying her elder years, but of her personality. Dementia has turned my mom into a gibbering fool.