Dementia – Love Me ‘Til My Life Is Done

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Sometimes those with Alzheimer’s/Dementia will wake in the middle of the night, upset and in a rage, wanting to go home.  One gentelman’s wife with dementia did this now and then.  He was so patient, he would dress her, go for a short drive, and return home.  He would take her back to her bedroom, and she was content to be home.

Dealing with dementia patients is not like dealing with an ill person.  For an ill  person you do something “to” and “for” them.  For a dementia person you do something “with” them. (socializing)

Caregivers feel helpless and emotionally drained.  But do not give up on your loved one.  Read this poem written by an unknown author, and have compassion for those with Alzheimer’s/Dementia.

  • Don’t ask me to remember,
  • Don’t try to make me understand,
  • Let me rest and know your’re with me,
  • Kiss my cheek and hold my hand.
  • I’m confused beyond your concept.
  • I am sad and sick and lost,
  • All I know is that I need you,
  • To be with me at all cost.
  • Do not lose your patience with me,
  • Do not scold or curse or cry,
  • I can’t help the way I’m acting,
  • Can’t be different though I try.
  • Just remember that I need you,
  • That the best of me is gone,
  • Please don’t fail to stand beside me.
  • Love me ’til my life is done.

Scientists studying dementia ask us to focus on what our loved ones can do.  Do not focus on the skills they have lost.  Normally long-term-memory and reading skills are less effected.  Even when a dementia patient can’t speak, they can still read if the print size is large enough. Spoken words. ” go in one ear and out the other.”  Those with dementia cannot store the spoken word in their memory.  Give them notes to read and they will not ask again and again where they or going or where something they want is stored.  Scientists know notes work, because they witness that dementia patients reading notes, will smile, and make pleasant sounds.  Those with dementia will stroke photos of loved ones with captions, because they read and then know the person in the photo.

I used baby monitors throughout my home dealing with my brother.  I learned this from a nurse who was caring for her mother with dementia. If I noticed or heard him, on my monitor screen, in a  certain room having problems, I went to help him find or complete a task he was trying to accomplish.  I used drive way alarms pointed at doors to know when he left or entered the house.  I had the receiving units for these alarms in my locked bedroom, but could hear them throughout my home.  These were aides to help me deal with an extreme dementia wanderer.

I know how hard being a caregiver is and that those with dementia do not know how to function correctly. So, just remember that they need you and love them until their life is done.

 

 

When The Sun Goes Down

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I took this picture of the sunset last night.  The song, “Mississippi Mud,” ran through my mind.  The first verse goes – “When the sun goes down the tide goes out.  The people gather round and they all begin to shout,  Hey, hey Uncle Dud it’s a treat to beat your feet on the Mississippi Mud.”  That song has been sung over the years by famous people like Dinah Shore, Dean Martin, and Ray Charles just to mention a few.  I have been to the Gulf Coast of Mississippi and stuck my feet in that Mississippi Mud.

I suppose I was trying to cheer myself up looking at this beautiful sunset and thinking of a happier time.  DHS is giving me so much trouble with renewing my brother’s long-term-care Medicaid to pay for nursing home care that I have been stressed past my limit of endurance.  These last 3 years of dealing with my brother’s problems have taken a toll on my health.  Sometimes it seems as if everything good I have tried to achieve in my life has taken a hard uphill battle.  I really think future generations are going to have a much harder time dealing with life’s challenges.  That fills my mind with extremely sad thoughts.

Maybe someday I can go back to Mississippi and stick my feet in that nice soothing Mississippi Mud again. Ah, that is a nice thought!  I wonder if a facial mud pack with Mississippi Mud helps wrinkles?  Hmmmmmm

Loneliness

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I remember ten years ago when I sustained a severe concussion.  Silly me, I ran into a steel beam with my forehead.  I was so dizzy for a month I could not get out of bed.  For month two and three I stayed home laying on the couch to recuperate.  It was a lonely, miserable time in my life.  My husband was my caregiver, but he had things that required his attention and he was home only part of the time.

As I laid on that couch I watched an old white horse in the hillside pasture across the road. I could tell the horse was old, very lonely and neglected.  I never saw the owner interact with that horse and I spent hours watching.  As the weeks passed I would find myself talking to that horse in my mind and occasionally out loud.  I would tell him I understood.  I had such compassion for this lonely old horse.  Near the end of the two months, I laid on that couch, I saw a young, frisky, brown horse appear in the pasture with the white horse. I was thrilled, “Whitey” as I called him had companionship at last.  I saw Whitey try to interact with this brown horse for days, but the brown horse would not pay any attention to Whitey.  After a week of rejection the brown horse was taken away. Once again Whitey looked sad and lonely. Whitey died a few months later.  Ten years later I still think of Whitey and feel pain because he was neglected.  I do not know why people have animals if they are not going to give them love.

As I laid on the couch I would think of crossing my front field, going across the road to the fence to talk to Whitey and pet his nose.  Animals experience loneliness exactly as people experience being lonely.

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Ten years later I am dizzy and housebound from a fall where I landed face first.  Once again I have compassion for an animal.  There is a baby rabbit who lives in my yard.  I call him Streak, because he can really go from Point A to B in record time.  Streak had a sibling that he played with that disappeared in a few days.  Streak’s mom has gone on her way and Streak is alone.  Streak touches my heart, because I feel he has to be lonely.  I watch him try to interact with the adult rabbits, but they shun him.  I would pet
Streak if he were not a wild animal.  How sad to be alone.

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If you have a friend or acquaintance, young or old who is lonely, well or ill, depressed, a shut-in, in the hospital go visit them.  Loneliness does not help anyone thrive in their life. Loneliness causes young and old people to take their own lives.  Don’t let this happen to someone you know.  Be the salve that soothes their lonely soul.  Do something to alleviate someone’s loneliness.  God did not put us on this earth to be alone.  And while you are at it, pet your dog, cat, or horse.