Living with Elderly Dementia Patients

Life is tough enough but adding Dementia to elderly individuals can really make life unpleasant. Today my wife has a couple of events that will disrupt her daily routine. That alone is typically challenging. She’s scheduled for a routine checkup with her provider and that always causes her to ask more questions than I ever want to answer… like “why do I have to do this?” and “What is the doctor’s name?” and “Why am I going?” and so many more questions…

Before all of that happens… we went for a Blood Test. Getting her up and out without any food or drink (A fasting blood test) was a huge challenge in and of itself. Then there’s the getting her dressed and ready to go. Oh yes, the temperature dropped last night so it’s cold outside and she will need a coat. That’s another discussion that she has to have with me. We finally get a coat selected and head for the door. Oh yes, I have to go to the bathroom. For those who have limited mobility AND dementia… a trip to the bathroom is NEVER quick. So the coat comes off and she goes in. Eventually we finish and get washed up. Coats back on and head for the door.

The trip to the lab for the blood draw was mostly uneventful. For some unknown reason the route I chose reminded her of something in her past and she kept telling me how she recently drove this same road. For the record, she turned in her drivers license about eight years ago so her story line has no basis in fact. Just some thought that seems to come up when we drive this route.

At the lab she wants to help everyone when she’s the one usually needing help. She was always the one giving help so that memory is still there and it is a huge challenge to her to NOT be helping others. It really confuses her. Her number was called and she went to give up her blood for the tests. Things mush have gone well as she came out and we put the coat on again and headed for the car. Getting into and out of the car has become quite a challenge for her. So we take our time and get her in and buckled up. The trip home goes well but when we arrive she states that we can’t go in THERE… because someone else is living there now? How did this happen??? I have no idea where these ideas came from but with coaxing I finally get her out of the car and we go in the house. She sits for a while and checks out the visuals. As she checks out what she sees… memories come floating back and eventually she accepts that this IS where we’re supposed to be.

With her calmed down and accepting that we are actually at OUR home, I fix breakfast so we can eat. While fixing our breakfast she has lots of questions and those of you who live with someone ‘with dementia’ know how that can be. Stop what you’re doing over and over to answer the same (or similar) questions over and over. It gets tiring and bothersome but something you have to learn to deal with or go nuts ! Maybe that’s why I take supplements that help me stay calm in these situations.

Breakfast went well and she actually did quite well. Maybe it’s because the same things placed in the same place and in the same order help to create “order” in her life and that seems to be VERY important to dementia sufferers.

The day has a long way to go yet and we can’t record it all here so we’ll end this post here. Hopefully, if you are a caregiver to someone suffering with dementia or alzheimers you can relate and know you’re “Not Alone” in having frustrations. It’s just part of what goes on in the life of a caregiver. Am I living “the dream”? Not actually but I’m living out my promise to my wife to stick with her “Till Death Do Us Part.” More later.

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