So the Office for National Statistics have found that respondents in the 40-59 age bracket have the lowest levels of satisfaction and the highest levels of anxiety. Middle age stress abounds and happiness has dropped off the richter scale for us. Apparently that elusive beast only emerges again after 60, […]
Posted by Family Affairs on 25-08-2013 in BLOG tagged with DEMENTIA / Grandmother / home / hot chocolate / orgasms
I’ve been spending time with my Grandmother who is in a home for Dementia sufferers….I always slightly think they’re not the “sufferers” it’s the people around them that must suffer more because once they’ve got full on dementia most of the “inmates” seem really really happy. Talking rubbish and not […]
Posted by Family Affairs on 24-08-2011 in BLOG tagged with DEMENTIA
I’ve been to see my 97 year old grandmother who is in a home. She suffers from dementia like all the other patients in her “care residence”. It’s a little disconcerting going in because most of the elderly inmates wave at me and shout “how are you? COME HERE and say hello” and presume they know me. Must be so hard for their family to be treated in the same way as a total stranger.
My mother finds it very distressing that her mind has deteriorated to the point where she can no longer recall any names or places whatsoever. In fact, apart from my mother I don’t really think she knows who anyone is anymore.
As I arrived she had just posted a complete digestive biscuit into her mouth, so we had to smile at each other and not speak for the first 10 minutes whilst she masticated it. She was delighted to see me but I don’t think she had any idea who I was. She asked all the right questions and initially I thought she was very clear – “how is the family? Where have you come from? Who are you staying with?” all fairly generic but I was hopeful I talked about my children and she nodded and looked pleased. But then after the complete update she said “so how ARE things really? Have they improved? Your not on your own are you?” and just as I was about to launch into an answer she said “what about the Blitz? Are you all safe?”
She is simply regressing it seems. Back almost to her childhood now. She repeats the same question about every five minutes anyway, so it’s easier just to sit and hold her hand and let her talk.
There was a photograph of her husband, my grandfather stuck on her mirror and she pointed to him and said “that’s my father, he’s been dead about 5 years and now I’ve got to look after my mother – it’s lucky they don’t let me out much because I don’t really like her”. Then she told me all about her horse that she kept downstairs and how exhausting it was to ride him but that it was very good because they usually let her bring him right up the stairs and into the room next to her.
So far so good then.
Next she peered at me and told me that I looked exactly like one of the old ladies downstairs – “she’s got the same hair and lipstick as you and I often tell her she reminds me of you and call her by your name” aha, I thought to myself, this will give me a clue as to who she thinks I am “what do you call her?” I asked. “Oh, I call her beautiful” she said….
Some people, I imagine, when they lose the ability to recall the names of their nearest and dearest and of places they have lived, would get very distraught about it. She doesn’t seem to be at all worried about it and I suspect I might be the same. I’m rubbish with names and places – sometimes I can’t see the point at all – in fact it might be a relief to not stress when trying to remember the names of two really good friends of yours that you are expected to introduce.
She told me all about going sailing and her farm and how all the staff were lovely except when they washed her which made her feel like a “slimy old carp”. “There’s only one man I don’t like and I’ve warned him that if he comes anywhere near me again I’m going to shove him out of the window. In fact I’m going to tell him to take a look down below at the huge pile of skeletons I’ve amassed from all the other men I don’t like”.
That will probably be me in a few years.
Here is her gorgeous old gnarly hand, which I know and love and held. Incredible isn’t it that we still keep going and moving after all those years? I suppose it looks more like a claw than a hand now to others:-
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