Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Dreaded Calendar

I think I have come to hate our calendar. This thing, which is supposed to create organization and a sense of order, creates stress and chaos in our house. I would love to throw it out, but that would make Mom even more confused, and we would miss all our appointments.

The calendar has brought to light a new dimension of dementia that I did not expect, don’t understand, and can not think of a way to fix or help.

Typically when you schedule something to do, a friend says “Are you free Monday the 13th at 3pm?” You check your calendar, if it is free, you say, “Yes, I am free, let me write that down.” Then another person says, “Would you like to have dinner Monday night the 20th at 6pm?” You check your calendar and you are free so you schedule it in.

However, what Mom remembers of such conversations are that these events were both on a Monday. She assumes they are both on the same Monday and somehow they are both at the same time. Or if there are two events in one day, let’s say one at 10am and the other at 6pm, she thinks the two events conflict and she can not go to one of them. We write down the times on the calendar, we explain the events are on different days, and we show her that, but it just does not make sense in her mind. She spends sometimes an hour or more per day looking at the calendar trying to figure it out. She talks to us often about the schedule and it still does not make sense to her.

We have told her we will get here where she needs to go and make sure we do not schedule two events at the same time. The problem is she does not believe us and does not trust that we are correct. That is why taking the calendar away would make her even more anxious because she is unable to believe what we say. This does not mean Mom does not trust us personally or thinks we are trying to trick her. I can see clearly that she does trust us, yet at the same time can not believe us. He mind does not allow her to do so. It is a very difficult dynamic and I can not figure out how to fix it. This makes her very anxious and stressed and I know she wishes we could fix it for her. We wish we could fix it for her too.

The issue over the calendar is one of those things where I think we just have to watch Mom be upset because there is nothing we can do about it. Mom’s mind is not working in such a way where scheduling is something she can understand.

I have to admit defeat to the calendar.


Rev. Katie

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