Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Dealing With Dementia

After three episodes, I have cause for concern.

Mother has had dementia for at least 10 years. She's 87 years old now. Her outward sign that you could tell was of her shuffling gate. She began shuffling her feet to walk, instead of picking them up, not long after she turned 70.

Dementia is closely related to Alzheimer's. She hasn't experienced any memory lapses. She has a lot of trouble recalling words. Any conversation is spent digging for the name of Uncle so-and-so who went to work in such-and-such.

You can emotionally accept this as part of the aging process along with her diminished hearing and sight. But the hallucinations are something altogether different. On every level imaginable.

The first hallucination episode happened around Christmas holidays. Skyler and Phoenix were over visiting and Mother appeared yelling about the "two boys" we had in the house. That sounded like something she may have said in my teen years to my sister and I but this wasn't a memory lapse. She actually "saw" two guys in the house and she thought we were hiding them from her.

Naturally, this disturbed me but soon I was able to spin it and accept it as a one time thing.

This past week it happened again. Once, matter of factly, and the next time she came and got me to tell me about the people in her room. I asked her to show them to me.

In her mind there were two adults standing near her closet and on a chair sat a child with two other children around her.

What do you say about that? You have a tiny little lady looking up to you with her sad eyes wanting answers, or validation, and most of all security. Do you play along?

I asked her if they scared her and she said, "yes".

Then I asked her what she thought I should do about it. She sort of laughed and said, "I wish we had some kind of spray to keep them away from here". Then we began laughing about Robin's ex-husband whose family believed in voodoo.

As quickly as it began, it had ended. But I couldn't spin it anymore. Of course, web addict that I am I began googling dementia and hallucinations and it's all part of it. It even has a name. Dementia with Lewy bodies.

I'm not afraid to tell you that I'm scared. I wish I had someone to talk to about it who has been in this position and dealt with this. I'm going to ask her doctor if maybe she should try out Aricept.

If you've been reading this far, bless your little big heart. xoxo


Deb @ Sugarfused said...

Susan, I can't say that I've had ANY experience with this but I do want you to know that I'm thinking of you and your mom. I hope the episodes don't escalate for your sake and for hers. Much love,


Sude said...

Thank you, Deb. Your sweet words mean more to me than you know. Since moving to Tennessee to take care of her I don't see my friends in NC much and I count on a handful of you guys I've spoken to online over the past several years to help lift me up out of the draining, emotional muck. I just can't express how much I appreciate your taking the time out of your busy day to stop in and be so kind. Love & light...

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