No matter how much you know about dementia, I don't think you are ever prepared for how it progresses. I know the disease gets worse. I know there may be a day when my Mom does not know who I am. I know her ability to do everyday tasks is diminishing. Yet the changes of dementia catch me off guard every time.
The other day Mom called to me for help with something. I went into her bathroom and found her staring at the sink. She said "I don't know how to turn the water on."
That caught me by surprise. She had forgotten how to push the lever up to get water.
Every time something like that happens, a vision of the future goes through my head. I worry that one day when we are not home she will not be able to get a drink of water. I wonder what will be the next thing she can't remember how to do. Might she forget how to open the drawer? I know she has already been having a hard time with brushing her hair.
Equally confusing is the fact that this progression varies from day to day. She has not completely forgotten how to turn on the water, it happens sporadically.
Even though I am never quite prepared for these changes and it scares me when they happen, after the initial shock I am able to be in the moment. We can only deal with what is happening at the time, worrying about the future does not help.
At times like this I am grateful for the relationship we have and that Mom feels comfortable enough to ask for help when she needs it. And often she has a great sense of humor and laughs about things she can't remember or when she jumbles words together.
Who knows what will come next. I know I won't really be fully prepared for it, but I also know our family will work with what we have.