Dementia Memory Loss

Private home care / senior living communities / senior living / home health care

Anticipating the next stage

Where can you live when you keep changing?

My mom received a call from the social worker last week, asking for a family meeting to discuss “care options” for my dad.  Translated:  Bryan isn’t a good fit for living here anymore because he is refusing personal care and becoming less tolerant when his routines change.  Routines change in all of our workplaces, and for health care workers who spend their days caring and interacting with people living with dementia, a planned holiday or trip to the dentist, equates to a major ‘routine’ change; at least it does for my dad.  With this backdrop, we will head into Thursday’s meeting with our eyes & ears wide open.  We are advocating for my dad, yet we no longer live with him or see him at his ‘worst’.  When we visit, he is generally happy to see us, or at least agreeable to do whatever activity we suggest.  When he is at his worst, which is generally with someone new or someone who provides personal care who he does not trust, he is stubborn and agitated.  These behaviours, although understandable, are not ideal and they represent a change in behaviour that will ultimately lead to my dad having to leave his current home where he receives tremendous care, and lives with peers of relatively the same age.  We can not bring him home, so, the next “logical” step is that he will be on the ‘accelerated’  list for long term care.

I recall my mom spending time, agonizing about when would be the right time to move my dad from the family home into a care environment that provided more support.  Now,  two years later, we are facing the same emotions as we work with his social worker, personal support workers and nursing team, to figure out the next stage of living for my dad.

Mindfulness helps me to listen, digest and learn without judgement.  Since I tend to create stories about what long term care is, and isn’t, I use mindfulness to reset.  What we are meeting this week is all about exploring current living choices and care options, for today.  I am sure we will also talk about options for where my dad will continue to live his life, but for this week, it’s about care options and how he can live life within his current environment.

When we do talk about where he will Iive next, I have decided to keep a running tab of the activities he seems to enjoy today.  Not what he used to like, and likely not what he’ll like tomorrow…but what he likes today.   I know he loves to walk, so it is important that he live in a place where there are long hallways that are safe.  I know he loves to eat, so let’s learn about how the food is prepared, and whether or not he can smell the kitchen with a pot of chili as it cooks down for dinner.  I know he loves visitors, so let’s find a place that is close by.  Let’s learn about what the living provides and match that for what he needs.  It’s time to take a new approach – let’s figure out what he needs today, and then look at the options that fulfill this. Next, let’s consider what he will need in 1-2 years time, and ensure our options can accommodate.  Moving him again will be a major adjustment.

Even though he has dementia, he gets it.  Change is hard for all of us.

Thanks to our Friend  Carolyn Duckworth with Care2Care.

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Quote of the week

“She made the broken look beautiful
& the strong look invincible.

She walked with the weight of the universe on her shoulders, and made it look like a pair of wings”

Private home care / Senior living communities / Senior living

Elderly Care Nursing Homes Elderly Care Services

Walk With Me

Walk with Me

By Norman McNamara

Walk with me my friend, walk with me a while,
Step into my shoes, and walk a different mile,
Do you see what I see, through the foggy mist?
What can’t you see now? have you got a list?
Can you see things clearly, or cross a road ok?
Do you know what time it is, can you name the day?
Walking down the road, is not so easy now,
Do you feel your stumbling, and your head do bow?
When you meet your “friends” do they act the same?
Do they wave at you from across the street, do they call your name?
Or do they walk away, pretending your not there,
After years of friendship, do they now not care?
So walk with me my friend, walk with me a while,
Step into my shoes, and walk a different mile,
This i have to go through, each and every day,
I pray dementia`s demons, never come your way,

Elderly Care / Nursing Homes  / Elderly Care Services


Keep In Mind

I Have Dementia,

My eyes do see,  My ears do hear

I am still me,  so lets be clear

My memory may fade, My wake may slow

I am ME inside, don’t let me go.

Author : Becky Bell

Senior living / Home health care / Personal care home / Senior care


Edging the Danger Zone // Introduction

I’m Nadia & my 50 year old Mother was diagnosed with Early Onset Dementia almost 4 years ago. While at first the declination of her mind was rapid and scary, she has settled into her new life of stay at home full time Grandmother. This is my personal story of what it like each week as I edge closer to what I call the danger zone, the zone where my most cherished possessions on earth, My mother,  slips further away from the reality she created for me.

Currently, she is fully functional. She can drive, and be alone and isn’t a harm for herself or others. She does have episodes where we do need to calm her down and “wake” her out of a panic state. She is really good at telling us when she is at her wits end with her mental capacity. However, I think the biggest area I have noticed recently is the deterioration of logic in a situation where there are multiple things happening at once. She becomes fixated on a task that seems minuscule and outlandish in comparison to what really needs to be done. I’ve noticed that my family lacks the skills to redirect her back to something productive so her fixation gets played out completely and can sometimes last hours.

Recently, my siblings and I were organizing for Christmas. We live in San Diego and she wanted to have a nice pre Christmas feast because one of my older brothers were going to be out of town on the actual date. It had rained the night before and our gazebo out side had a pocket of water that was dripping.

As all of my siblings and I reorganized, cleaned and cooked the inside where our festivities would take place. She became fixated on the gazebo, getting all the water off and tying a tarp on to it so it wouldn’t happen again.

I wasn’t really watching her, so when I heard brother say,

“We live in San Diego, it hardly rains.”

Followed by my sister agreeing comment,

“It’s not like we are going to sit outside in the freezing cold for dinner”

I was intrigued to understand what she was doing. When I asked her, she explained how she wanted to make sure the gazebo didn’t drip so that when my brother walked to his room (he stayed in a guest house that was attached to the backyard from my parents house) his new born baby had reduced chances of getting wet.

It was a kind gesture and I think that acknowledging her concern is the first step in redirecting.  Then we discussed how Paisley, the baby, is always wrapped in blankets and is not outside for more than a few moments. I let her know what I was doing inside and how I could use her assistance. I think the biggest lesson for me was that before she agreed to come in and help me, I offered her my assistance and asked if I could help her in anyway on what she was doing. That gave her the opportunity to think between the two tasks and deduce which one was higher priority.

I didn’t tell her to stop what she was doing or that it wasn’t important. She decided that she should change tasks and that was the win for me.

It’s undeniable that my mother a Registered Nurse practitioner for over 20 years of her life doesn’t logically think the was she used to. I do refuse to believe that she can’t still make logical decisions. They just have to be presented in a new way.

Tell me in the comments below about how you would have handled the situation, or if you have any tips & tricks for me as I edge closer to the danger zone with my Mama.

Dementia Care / Memory Care / Home care