Category Archives: Dementia/Deterioration of the Mind

The Love that’s Not Taken Away by Dementia

From the mind of a caretaker, translated…

“Child, let me tell you, that last night, my bedroom was cramped with a ton of people.  And, nobody wanted to believe what I was telling them…”, every time I’d gone to see my father, he’d always pulled me, mysteriously, to the corners of his ward, and told me, he’d looked everywhere, and, there’s this fear, this sense of panic, in his gaze; although, I felt uneasy at the moment, I’d still worked hard, to calm him back down, back then, I had yet to understand what dementia was, and didn’t know, that hallucinations were a symptom of dementia.

What caused me to blame myself for so long was, before my father died, he’d forgotten everybody else but me, but, because I was too young, other than watching him suffer, I didn’t do a thing for him.

Many years later, my father-in-law who’d retired from a teaching post, was originally supposed to be enjoying his retirement, playing with the kids, but, dementia had, crept up on him.  At first, he’d become forgetful, lost his balance, tripped and fell a lot, then, he had difficulties swallowing, to the very end, he’d needed people to help him, with his daily living routines, this, was defeating, for a man who once had the world at his feet, as he stood on the podium, lecturing away; he’d become a balloon, with the air let out, he wasn’t talkative from before, he’d become even more silent now.  My father-in-law also started forgetting his family members one by one, but, he’d always remembered me, his daughter-in-law, and it’d reminded me of my own father, who was tortured by dementia before he died; the difference was, that this time, I’d used my words and actions, to show and tell my father-in-law, “Don’t be afraid, we will keep by your side.”

Dementia is torture for the elder, and, for the caretaker, it’s this sense of helplessness.  Seeing how the ones we loved, with the memories, getting away from them by the day, their souls seemed to have been, locked up, in the depth of the oceans, it’s truly, trying, for both the patients and the families.

For me, my father’s dementia had kept me in regret for a very long time, and so, when I took care of my father-in-law, I’d given the efforts, so I won’t have any regrets again.  In facing dementia, I’d learned to love, to accompany, and to show care and concerns, to keep us all, connected well together, even IF the world changes.  Because of love, we will, NEVER forget.

And so, this woman regretted not being understanding enough toward her own father, and so, she was able to gain that understanding, when her father-in-law became diagnosed too, and, this sort of understanding can only come with experience and aging.

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Filed under Cost of Living, Dementia/Deterioration of the Mind, Family Matters, Lessons, Properties of Life, Values

When Her Body & Mind Became Separated

Another one of those “outerbody experiences”, perhaps???

When her body and mind became separated, it’s like you’re talking AT her, and she’d been on “autopilot mode” of response, with the ability to answer in yes or no, and used only simple words and sentences that don’t make sense to the rest of us.

When her body and mind became separated, what, can we do, to JOLT her mind, BACK into her body?  By SHOCKING her with threats?  But studies showed (don’t ask which ones!!!) that threats is a really BAD way, to get through to someone, isn’t it?  When her body and mind became separated, there’s NOTHING we can do, but to just, wait, anxiously, until she “returns”, and sometimes, it’d be just a few seconds, then, as the day rolls on, the time became longer lasting, and now, she’d drifted for almost fifteen minutes, and, NO matter how hard we SHOOK her, it’s like, she’s O-U-T!

When her body and mind became separated, well, that, is what we have to deal with every single day now, as the progression of her illness goes.  When her body and mind became separated, there’s NOTHING we could do, but to hope, that this current LAPSE of hers will be over………

 

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Filed under Awareness, Being Exposed, Dementia/Deterioration of the Mind, Life, Loss, Old Age, Properties of Life

The Words, Slowly, Vansihed, from Her Mind

As the illness progressed…

The words, slowly, vanished, from her mind, whereas before, she’d get into that fighting, feisty mentality, when she felt challenged by someone, and now, she just sits, staring, into space.

The words, slowly, vanished, from her mind, and, she’d started, having troubles, keeping up with the conversations that were, going around, finding it hard for her, to keep track, to follow, and eventually, she’d stopped, chiming in, or, asking others, what they’re talkin’ about…

The words, slowly, vanished, from her mind, and, as the day passed, she’d become, more, and more withdrawn, and, she’d turned into, a prisoner, of the confines, of her own mind, and, although she’s the one with the key to unlock, gosh!  She’d forgotten where the key was!

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Filed under Awareness, Being Alone, Cost of Living, Dementia/Deterioration of the Mind, Despair, Loss, Observations, Old Age

The Day You Became a Stranger to Me…

We’re, going down, this slippery slope, and we both knew, that this, will NOT end well, at A-L-L!!!

The day you became a stranger to me, but how, we were related, a very long time ago, I suppose, and now, I don’t even recognize your face at all, I see you, as a foreigner in my world, a complete stranger…

The day you became a stranger to me, it’d hurt, and this day had, eventually come, for your condition had worsened, to the point, that you can’t even recognize that that’s you, reflected, in that dresser mirror anymore.

The day you became a stranger to me, who are you, what are you doing in my house?  HELP!  INTRUDER!!!  The day you became a stranger to me, that, is the day, I hoped that I could die, but, I’m still here, for some unknown reasons…

The day you became a stranger to me, there’s NO way ‘round it, because with the deteriorations of your mind, you’d stared at that blank wall more and more, and although I’d still come visit you three, four time a week, but, we’re rarely, interacted with one another anymore.

The day you became a stranger to me, I had never seen you before!  Who are you?  And, why do I have a ring, on my ring finger, I’m not married, I’m only ten years old!

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Filed under Dementia/Deterioration of the Mind, Despair, Family Matters, Interpersonal Relations, Loss, Observations, Perspectives, Properties of Life, White Picket Fence

The Sense of Helplessness that Accompanies Me, in Caring for You

Been feeling it, quite a lot lately, actually, with the progression of your dementia, we’d placed you on meds, took you to a TON of supposedly-helpful classes, and now, they’re kicking you out, because you’d become, disruptive to others, and couldn’t concentrate for a long time…

The sense of helplessness that accompanies me, in caring for you, nobody can and will EVER understand, for I’m one, fighting, this war that I know I can’t EVER win!  But, I keep, fighting on, took you to the doctors, and watched him, wrote out that one MORE prescription slip, for your meds, and, I’d wanted to ask him, is there any way, that I can, slow down the progression, but, the words, got swallowed down, and, it’d tasted bitter, as they, trickled down my throat.

The sense of helplessness that accompanies me, in caring for you, why am I the one, who must handle it all?  When you’d stayed with me, you’d talked of your other kids, as if, I don’t even matter, how, how can you forget me, I am, your caretaker, your other kids are either way too busy, or they don’t want you, only me, I was, the only one who took you in, and this, is how you repay me?

The sense of helplessness that accompanies me, in caring for you, does it ever, go away?  I know I shouldn’t, and I feel, extremely guilty for it, but, why can’t you, just die already?  You’d already, outlived your husband, isn’t that enough???

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Filed under Coping Mechanisms, Cost of Living, Dementia/Deterioration of the Mind, Despair, Life, Moods, Emotions, & Feelings, Properties of Life, Story-Telling, Vicious Cycle

Being the Primary Caretaker of Her Demented Father, “How Could He Forget Me!”

Caretaking of demented elderly, translated…

Patients who are diagnosed with dementia has a declining mental capacity, it’s such a tragic and sad process, and, the decline of mental capacity is not limited to the loss of memories, it’s often accompanied by the ability to make judgments as well as abstract thinking abilities on the decline as well, and, the whole thing combined, turned the matter into scenes after scenes of hard-to-deal with arguments and difficulties in one’s life.

Mr. Wang was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s many years ago, from the very beginning when the symptoms started when he’d started asking his family members the same questions again and again, to his eyes, slowly overcome with that look of helplessness, in the multiple sessions with the doctor, the families were told that this, IS the progression of Alzheimer’s, and, the children could comply with how their father would fall silent from time to time, and get loud every now and then, and they’d returned home to visit with him even more, hoped, to keep the years shared on the increase.

His Youngest Daughter Took Good Care of Him, But, Her Father Had, Forgotten Her

Ms. Wang is the youngest of her family, when her father was diagnosed, she was the one who’s not yet married, their mother died early, so naturally, she’d shouldered up the responsibilities to care for him.  With the worsening of her father’s condition, Ms. Wang took an early retirement from the school she’d taught at, and, helped her father live off of his own savings, as well as her own retirement pensions, the days are hard, and, seeing how her father deteriorated by the day, she’d started fretting.

When Mr. Wang started becoming delusional and started arguing with her, Ms. Wang realized that her father’s conditions had progressed even further.  From time to time, her father would have that doubtful gaze, asked her, “What’s your name?”, she thought, that it was a temporary moment of memory lapse, how could he forget, the daughter who’s by his side for all these years, until the day…

“Dad, wake up for your breakfast!”, as Ms. Wang prepared the meals, and waken her father up for it, her father looked at her, with panic, screamed, “GET AWAY from me!  Why are you in my house!  What do you want from me!”, Ms. Wang was shocked, and had, time and time, told Mr. Wang her name, that she was the daughter he’d lived with every single day now, but, Mr. Wang kept denying her as his daughter, and insisted, that his daughter lives in another city.

As Her Father’s Condition Progressed, She’d Become a Stranger to Him

Ms. Wang called up her older sister, and handed the phone to her father, and her father behaved like a child who was shocked, told her eldest that there was a bad lady that came to his house, and, as he spoke, the tears of panic came to his eyes.  At which time, Ms. Wang could no longer hold it in, started tearing up, by the corner of the walls.

As the eldest sister rushed back home, her father, with that look of panic, hid out in his own bedroom, and, her youngest sister, without ANY facial expressions, sitting in the living room, crying.  Ms. Wang finally cracked, she’d screamed hysterically, “How can he forget me!  I’d given up my job for him, sacrificed my love life, my life, used ALL the energies I have, to care for him, and, all he could remember was, you, the daughter who married far off, are all these years I’d been giving my life for naught now?”

A Slow-Rewind of His Memories, the Hardships Were, Forgotten First

The memories of the demented elderly started getting lost, from the newer ones, so, at first, they’d have troubles, recalling what was just said to them, then, with the progression of the disease, the patients’ memories started to rewind forward.

The earliest memories that one has is the slowest to be gone, and so, Mr. Wang may forget about his youngest daughter, then, his oldest, forgetting about one’s own offspring, before one’s own spouse, and, it’s all because of the difference in the time and accumulation of moments shared.

A lot of the younger and unmarried children became the primary caretakers of demented parents, but, with the progressions of the illness, it’d made the caretaking duties harder to handle, and they’re the very first to get forgotten.  But, the blurring of the demented patients and the simplified logic, a condition that neither parties wanted to have happened occurs.  Other than handling the caretaking duties, one must also have plans for one’s own life, and you must share your thoughts with someone else, so you don’t carry it all on yourselves.

So, from this, you CAN see, how uneven the primary caretaker feels, right?  She’s the one who took her father in, took good care of him, and yet, she’d become a stranger to him, and, this would be hard for this woman to handle because she’d put EVERYTHING into caring for her demented father, and, in the end, he couldn’t even recognize him anymore, but that, is the progression of this illness of old age.

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Filed under Coping Mechanisms, Cost of Living, Dementia/Deterioration of the Mind, Expectations, Life, Loss, Moods, Emotions, & Feelings, Old Age

Turning Your Dementia Against You

I’m, it’s NOT as if you’ll be able to recall what I’d taken from you, so, why not, right???

Turning your dementia against you, that, is what I will BE doing, I mean, I’d already gotten STUCK, taking care of you already, and, what is it, that I’m getting out of the deal again?  Not quite enough, and, my siblings, they rarely come, and, you only remember them, and NOT me, who’s RIGHT beside you, and you still say that you don’t play favorites?  Give ME a break here!

Turning your dementia against you, that, is what I’d done, I mean, why the HELL should I get STUCK, with this job, that NOBODY wanted?  I mean, I might as well, get something FROM you while I can, and besides, what I’d taken is, rightfully MINE, for all those years I’d had to, put up with your demented ways, calling ME by the wrong name, and you’d never even SHOWN, an INKLING of gratitude toward me, for taking care of you, I should’ve STUCK you in that nursing home is the thing!

Turning your dementia against you, there’s NO way you can prevent me from so doing, after all, I’d already been PUT through HELL by you, who’s the one, chasing after you in the middle of the night, when you ran out?  Who’s there, to CLEAN off your soiled sheets when you’d wetted the bed?  Who’s there, to SPOON feed, each and every bite, to make sure that you don’t fall asleep when you are still chewing your food, and then, swallowing me down, it’s all been me, and now, I’ve HAD it.

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Filed under Bad Behaviors, Being Exposed, Dementia/Deterioration of the Mind, Family Matters, Obstacles in a Relationship, Perspectives, Properties of Life, Vicious Cycle

Days I Can’t Keep Track of…

There are, more, and more, of these now, and I really don’t know why!

Days I can’t keep track of, they’d slip, right on by, without me, noticing, and, it’s been days, since I can recall now.  Days I can’t keep track of, will I ever, get them back again?  Because, what IF, something MAJOR happened, during those days I can’t keep track of, and, they’re totally lost to me?

Days I can’t keep track of, they seemed to become so many now, whereas, there were just one, or two occasions, that I couldn’t recall what’d happened, and now, it’s like, I’m living, in a daze here.  I feel so very lost.

Days I can’t keep track of, they’re gone, too quickly, before I even realized, like water, slipping through my fingers, as I desperately tried, to grab a hold onto them all, I just couldn’t, because, they’d all, slipped, through my fingertips.

Days I can’t keep track of, how many had there been?  Since I’d started to, slowly, forget?  How long’s it been now?  Am I one year older?  Is my husband still around?  Where is he?  How come, I don’t see him around this house of mine anymore?

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Filed under Cost of Living, Dementia/Deterioration of the Mind, Life, Loss, Observations, Old Age, Properties of Life

The Sixty-Year-Old Cleopatra, on Parent-Child Interactions

Translated…

In these two years, all of my older classmates who’d lived abroad all returned back to their roots one by one.

Shu-Jen who married an American had sold her house in New Jersey, and moved in with her mother, with her husband, and entertained and accompanied her elderly mother.  Wan-Ling’s mother had been demented for many years, and lived with Wan-Ling’s unwed eldest sister, but, a while ago, her eldest sister who’s older now started having health troubles, Wang-Ling used the fact, that she didn’t have anything else to do after she’d retired from work in the States, to return to Taiwan with her daughter, to help out with the care of her own mother.

We are a group of former classmates who’d known one another for forty-seven years, although we’d lost track of one another for multiple decades from before, our friendships are just as tightly knit as it once was, especially these friends who’d returned back to the group from abroad, the members of our group became more and more, and, every couple of days, we’d used the name of catching up, to go out to dine together.  We’re approaching sixties now, and our kids are all grown and can all take care of themselves, we’d done our duties, and our parents are all in their elderly years, and we’d often talked on topics of the end of life, of accompanying our elders.

Wan-Ling told, that her days are with tear-filled laughter.  She’d taken her mother who’s demented to the doctors, the doctor asked her mother, how old she is, the mother opened up her eyes wide, “How can you be so rude, as to inquire the age of a woman?”, she and the doctor couldn’t help, but start smiling about it.  Once, she was helping her mother sort through those old photographs, and her mother denied, “I’m not even married yet, how can I have a husband?”

Wan-Ling’s father who’d passed away was ill at old age, and would commend her mother, and would often cuss her out, and she thought, that that part of her past was just too painful for her mother to recall and talk about, and she’d quietly, put those photos away, a short bit later, she’d heard gentle sobbing, “Ah, I do have a husband?  He’s really kind to me, and I can’t even remember him, I’m so sorry, so very sorry!” Wan-Ling’s heart wrenched as she’d heard, with the losses of her mother’s memories, she’d still recalled those better moments of her life.

Shu-Jen’s ninety-year-old mother is very healthy physically, it’s just that she’d often throw her temper tantrum, causing them to be troubled.  “For instance?”, we’d asked her.  Shu-Jen told, that one day, her mother got it into her head, that she wanted to watch “Cleopatra”.  She couldn’t even sit still, let along see clearly, how come she wanted to watch?  Shu-Jen’s eldest brother mumbled on, the mother was very displeased, Shu-Jen ran to the shop, got herself a wig that looked like Cleopatra’s, and started playing the part in front of her mother, made her mother laugh, and from time to time, her American husband would play the role of Caesar too, and her mother was even more entertained, in order to entertain her, there’s NO need to dress up flashy, a wig can do the trick just fine.

As we’d thought about the scenes, food almost came out of our noses, Wan-Ling said, she was going to copy Shu-Jen too, maybe, it could help her mother remember more.  The sixty-year-old Cleopatra has to take care of endless chores in the house, although she’s no longer young, with limited physical abilities, but she could use the collective imaginations, and win the wars by using her mind.

And so, this, is a way to interact with one’s elderly parents, they are looking for you, the younger generations to take the time, to accompany them more, and yet, how many of you, can say, that you took the time, to BE with your parents?  That’s very limited number of you, I’m guessing, because you are all, busying about your separate lives, without realizing, that your parents needed you to BE by their sides now…

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Filed under Coping Mechanisms, Dementia/Deterioration of the Mind, Family Matters, Life, Observations, Old Age, Perspectives, Properties of Life

I Will Carry on, and Let You Forget

Burdened, with the memories of someone who’d lost her/his memories here…

I will carry on, and let you forget, because that, is my duty, obligation (I HATE that word!), and responsibilities, of being your child.  I will carry on, and let you forget, as your memories had, faded, little, by little, each and every day, and on some days, you can’t even recall who I am!

I will carry on, and let you forget, so, don’t worry, mom, it’s okay if you don’t know who any of us is, I’ll be there, to remind you.  We’ll sort through those yellowed photographs, and I will tell you the stories about them, as you’d told me when I was a child.

I will carry on, and let you forget, you’ll no longer, be burdened with the painful memories of your past now, they’re mine, to carry.  I will carry on, and let you forget, because I’m your caretaker, and, there’s NO one else who wanted this DEAD-END (b/c that, is what this is!!!) job.

I will carry on, and let you forget, and, your memories, they’re fading by the day, and one day, they’ll be like those candles on your birthday cake, completely blown out, and, the two of us will be, in the darkness…………

I will carry on, and let you forget, because that, is what I’m supposed to do, and soon, you won’t remember any details from your past, you won’t even recognize me, your own flesh-and-blood, but I will still be right here, beside you.

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Filed under Dementia/Deterioration of the Mind, Despair, Downward Spiral, Expectations, Life, Loss, Observations, Old Age