Monday, July 25, 2011

Will We Ever Get A Break?

It seems like you just can’t plan anything when you care for someone with dementia and other age related issues. Dad has been planning for months to go on a much needed Buddhist retreat for this week, and Jeff and I are happy to take over all the caregiving for Mom. However, every time we make any plans, something happens and things get worse.

We noticed some major changes with Mom on Saturday and hoped that the trouble she was having was an isolated incident, a day when her body just was not doing what she wanted. Dad left early Sunday morning and Mom’s problem from Saturday seemed to be under control.

However, today, what we thought was an isolated incident, has come back even worse than Saturday. I can’t get a hold of Dad because he is on a silent retreat with no phones and no email. I could call the zendo in an extreme emergency, but I would not call this extreme.

Due to this change, she does not want to go out anywhere and I am hoping she does not cancel on the fun things her friends and family have planned for her this week.

Literally, it is just one thing after another and for a person with dementia who does not handle change well, this is just sad. I hate to see her struggling with wondering why she is worse today than she was two days ago. Everything is just so confusing for her. She often says “I just don’t know what’s going on Kate.” I wish she had a break from the progression of her illness. I wish we all had a break from the downward spiral she is in.
Mom & Morrie (Photo by Jeff Norris)

To top it off, we have a dog, Morrie, who is like Mom’s sixth child. Unfortunately, Morrie attacks our other dog Bailey every time food is around. But, for some reason, when Dad is not home, Morrie attacks Bailey all day. (I think this is some kind of alpha male thing.) Which means we can’t leave Mom home alone at all, or in a room alone because if the dogs fight, she gets in the middle and could get hurt. Or she will try a new discipline tactic, like throw a glass of water on the dog, and then I need to not only stop a dog fight, but clean up the water. Morrie also scarred Bailey so bad that she had an accident, which Jeff had to clean up in the midst of trying to make sure Mom did not fall. And yes, I know we should find Morrie a new home, but that would be like Mom loosing a child and she could not handle that. If this gets bad enough though, we would do it to make sure everyone is safe.

Ah, it’s going to be a long week. But Dad needs the time off and this retreat is really important for his spiritual and mental health.

For all of you in a similar situation, I feel for you. This happens with dementia and I am sure many other illnesses. Hang in there and ask for help if you need it. My sister is coming over to help out a few times this week, which is wonderful!


Rev. Katie

1 comment:

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