Monday, March 26, 2012

So Frustrating!

As I mentioned in my previous post, Mom fell recently and often a fall can lead to a downward slope. However, I really was not expecting this quick decline of Mom's in the last week. I just don't see how the fall, which did not hurt her, was just a bit scary, led to where we are today.

She is having trouble feeding herself and can't always figure out how to use her utensils. She is much more confused, sometimes talking like it is 20 or so years ago, but still fully aware that I am her adult child. Her hallucinations have increased. For some reason she thinks her house is actually three houses. Frequently what she says is completely out of context and we feel bad we can't figure out what she is trying to tell us. I am getting the sense that her anxiety has been heightened so much after the fall that everything is scary to her and anxiety can make you pretty confused and flustered. It can't be helping her already compromised brain.

Dementia is just so darn frustrating. In our experience, Mom stays stable for a bit but then gets worse by a big quick change rather than a gradual change. Just as soon as we get used to taking care of Mom the way she is, she all of the sudden gets a lot worse. You feel like you are always playing catch up and not doing enough because you can't figure out how to help her fast enough.

It's like any illness with no cure. When medicines don't help and there is nothing you can really do, you just have to do the best you can.


Rev. Katie

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Dreaded Fall

I have read in many places that falling is bad for the elderly, particularly those with dementia and other illnesses. It is like how they say getting pneumonia is the beginning of the end for many elderly. It seems that for some people, a fall leads to a downward spiral and no one can really explain why.

Even with all the safety bars we have in the house, Mom fell last week. While we got her up and she seemed ok, she was complaining more and more of different pain she was having. Dad took her to the doctor and they did not find anything, but we see some changes in her. For one, the increased pain, but also an increase in fear of doing things, some more vivid hallucinations, more fatigue, and a more confusion.

The anxiety created after a fall is actually one of the worst outcomes from a fall because then it results in the person being reluctant to walk and move around. Then their muscles weaken and they are at an increased risk of falling again. One of the essential things after a fall is to get the person comfortable with moving again so you can stop the deterioration of their body.

As with any change you see in your loved one, sometimes these things get worse for a bit and then everything resolves to a more stable state. Then again, sometimes things just keep going on a downward spiral. All caregivers dread the day your loved on falls, catches a bad cold, breaks a hip, or any thing happens that could change the trajectory of their disease for the worse.


Rev. Katie