The Continuing Adventures of a Dementia Carer

Welcome to this Blog. This blog aims to be an honest picture of what it is like to live with and care for someone who has dementia. I'm not writing this from any position of authority or claiming to be an expert on the subject, actually it's more of an outlet, a release mechanism which will hopefully strike a few chords with other people who are in a similar situation to myself. You are probably wondering about the title. This has become a catch phrase in our family as you will find out if you read on...

Sunday, 13 February 2011

In which I decide that something has to be done...

Following on from my first post, after Dad died and all the business of the funeral and clearing out of Mum and Dad's house was completed, we settled back down to a fairly normal routine of the four of us living together. At that time, Mum was a bit forgetful and needed to be reminded to take her tablets but nothing that caused any great concern for us. Life went on fairly normally for a couple of years. However, Mum didn't seem to be affected at all by Dad's death. I'm sure that she knew that he was gone but she just didn't seem to be upset or grieve for him at all. or at least not outwardly.
Then, after a while, we started to notice more worrying signs and changes in behaviour in Mum. She became less and less able to manage her medication herself, either forgetting to take her morning or afternoon pills altogether or even taking three or more days worth at a time. Each time she was challenged on the subject, she would deny that she had taken the tablets as if her memory was perfectly clear on the subject. Someone was taking her tablets, and it wasn't me, it wasn't my husband or my daughter and it certainly wasn't the cats!! Slowly we had to introduce security measures to ensure that she didn't take too many tablets. Now, all her tablets are locked away in a strong box in a high cupboard with only one day's worth of tablets out at a time so we know that she is on the correct dose.
Other things started going wrong too.
I came home one day to find her in the kitchen trying to make a bacon and egg quiche but had forgotten to put any eggs in.
I found her downstairs in the middle of the night looking for a crying child or complaining that she could hear a piercing sound.
She got very mixed up when dealing with money and couldn't tell the difference between pence and pounds.
These are just a few of incidents that made me realise that now I had to get some professional help but how do you explain to your mother that you are taking them to the doctors because you think they may have dementia or even Alzheimers!!!
Some deception was required I thought. Mum's hearing was getting bad too, despite the fact that she appeared to be hearing things that noone else could so I decided that it was the perfect opportunity to take her to see her GP and broach the subject of the memory problems. I called the doctors to make the appointment and carefully explained that I was worried about her memory but that she would refuse to attend the appointment if she knew the real reason. The doctor's surgery were great. They briefed the doctor on what my concerns were and when we attended the appointment, the GP was lovely and checked out her hearing and then chatted to her about her general health and how she was feeling and how her memory was. She then started asking her the standard memory questions about when Mum was born, where did she live etc. Mum had no idea what day it was, who the prime minister was, what the last book she read was or what she had read in the newspaper. At the end of the appointment, Mum had been referred to the memory clinic for tests and the doctor had taken blood for testing.
To me, it was a relief that someone else thought there was a problem too and I was reassured that something was going to be done.
That was over two years ago now.

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