Thursday, February 13, 2020

Living With Dementia

My Grandma got Dementia in the late 90s. That's when she started sending me duplicate cards, for birthdays and other holidays.

Before that time she was really with it! She gardened, sewed, did cross-stitching, played games, swam at the Y and more.

When I had Mica and Isaak, she loved them so much! Her face would light up, when she saw them. She always called them "girls". Probably because she had girls of her own. Her oldest grandchildren were girls. Mica used to say, "She has bubbles in her hair!" Referring to her silver white curls.

There were two times that really scared me: 

1. When she ran away, while my Grandpa was in the shower. They had an alarm system that would go off if she tried to leave. It did. BUT he was in the buff, and she took one of his shoes.

An immigrate from Mexico found her hurt. He didn't speak any English, but helped her up, and called 911. She had a broken wrist. It was then, that they decided to put her in a home. Something My Grandpa and her promised each other would never happen.

Looking back - I wish I would have thought to do something. I envisioned putting a vinyl up of a book shelf on the door. Then she wouldn't think of it as a door. I was about to do it, but it was too late. They decided it was best to move her.

2. Towards the end she would get agitated being around a lot of people. Family gatherings were hard. It's best to have small gatherings, during the day time. When the sun goes down, they have more confusion. This is called, "Sundowning". She would gather all the paper plates to wash by hand. Then she'd try and leave out the garage door, which is where my Uncle had his Wood Shop. Not a great place, for Grandma to have been.

Why I'm bringing all this up: 

Mica was supposed to work with patients that have Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's, and Dementia this semester for his Healthcare Academy class.

The M.S. Forward group is amazing. They really try to be there for the students. They helped set up Goalball, play catch with the students (kind of a challenge when some of them can't see), plan cook outs and more.

People that have Parkinson's work with M.S. Forward.

Working with Dementia patients is a newish thing. It's been in the works all year. They just went on their first field trip to the home. After permission slips were signed, lunches were gotten, and the bus was called. Get this...the class gets there, and only 2 patients came out. The rest were too busy in the game room to come out. They were playing Solitaire and BINGO. I totally blame the Director of the home, not the patients, and not the teacher. It kind of makes me sad. I was so looking forward to Mica working with them. He started his life out with my Grandma, that probably seemed a bit crazy to him. When really she was a totally great person, who's brain was being attacked.

His teacher was so disappointed. She planned for it all year. The poor lady has had a difficult class anyhow. This not to happening field trip didn't help.


Theresa Mahoney said...

That's too bad the field trip didn't go as planned.

I can't imagine how hard it must be to watch your loved one slowly lose their mind. How scary it must has been when your grandma ran away. Sometimes, though, you make promises that have to be broken and it seems like putting her in a home was for the best.

mail4rosey said...

It's hard to hold the attention of the students too, when there are only two people to work with. Don't you hate when someone else's mess-up affects so many people????? It sounds like they did the right thing with your grandma. Safety is paramount. Thank God for the person who found her when she left home!


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