Posts Tagged ‘Multi-infarct dementia’

Aunt Mae (Aug 2011)Today, the 23rd October, is another sad day for us, as today would have been my Aunt Mae’s 91st birthday.

It’s now just over 6 months since my Aunt Mae passed away, but just typing these words have started my tears flowing again. In many ways it seems like just yesterday Aunt Mae passed away, just 6 weeks after my Dad died. However in many other ways it seems like an eternity since both Aunt Mae and Dad were here with us.

I have thought of my Aunt Mae every day since she died.

I have shed many tears every day since Aunt Mae died.

I have missed my Aunt Mae every day since she died.

As Aunt Mae’s dementia worsened, she, just like my Dad, failed to recognised us or acknowledge that she knew us and latterly her personality completely changed, as she went from being a loving caring person to someone who was angry and aggressive…that just wasn’t my Aunt Mae. Having said that, during her final few days in the hospital, she did seem to have a the odd moment of clarity, as at one point when Mum apparently told her I was on my way in to see her she smiled and tried to say my name…

I am in no way saying there was no bond between Aunt Mae and the rest of my family, but I know there was always a special place in her heart for me, after all I was named after her as Mum and Dad gave me her name as my middle name, Mary.

These have been incredibly difficult months for my family, and my Mum in particular – Mum’s struggled to come to terms with the death of first my Dad and then Aunt Mae, but she’s getting there, as am I. I would however ask that today, as we remember my Aunt Mae in particular, on what would have been her birthday, that you continue to pray for us as we continue to grieve the death of two much-loved members of our family, my Aunt Mae and my Dad.

I love you Aunt Mae, and I miss you so much. You’ll always be in my thoughts and firmly in my heart. Dorothy xxx

Today, the 25th April is another sad day for us, as today would have been my Dad’s 86th birthday.

Dad at our weddingIt’s now just over 2 months since my Dad passed away, but just typing these words have started my tears flowing again. It really doesn’t seem like 2 months since Dad died, mind you a lot of that has to do with the fact in that interim time as many of you know, my Mum’s older sister, my Aunt Mae, also passed away. My Aunt Mae’s funeral was just over 2 weeks ago, so I’ve found that since then, I’ve finally been able to grieve for my Dad, as up until then I never really got a chance to grieve because my Aunt Mae was so ill.

Don’t get me wrong, I do not mean I am not grieving for my Aunt Mae as well as my Dad, as I most definitely am, but as you can probably understand, I am really missing my Dad.

I have thought of my Dad every day since he died.

I have shed many tears every day since Dad died.

I have missed my Dad every day since he died.

Yes, Dad’s illness in his final few years meant he was never really the Dad I knew and loved during, but even in those days when his vascular dementia meant he rarely knew us, or had any kind of conversation with us, there was still the odd time when he’d look at me and say, “Hello my lovely young lady” – something he often called me for many years. The days he said that to me became fewer and further apart, but when he did day them, they always brought tears to my eyes…and they most certainly have again tonight as I typed this post. The sad thing is no sooner would he uttered those words than he would become that vacant vessel again which didn’t understand what was going on around him, who was with him or indeed understand that he knew us.

These have been incredibly difficult months for my family, and my Mum in particular – Mum’s struggling to come to terms with the death of my Dad and Aunt Mae over these last couple of months. Therefore I’d ask today, as we remember my Dad on what would have been his birthday, that you continue to pray for us as we continue to grieve the death of two much-loved members of our family.

I love you Dad, and I miss you so much. You’ll always be in my thoughts and firmly in my heart. Dorothy xxx

death of a loved oneIn the last couple of weeks since my Dad passed away, I’ve found myself saying a number of times, “The last time I was here/did this, Dad was here”. Some of those memories have been ones I’ve smiled at other have been ones where I’ve shed a tear because even in these memories Dad’s illness was taking hold of him and turning him into a shell of the person he used to be.

These are the memories that will remain with me forever, and I’m sure in the coming days and weeks, many more memories of my Dad will come flooding back to me.

The Dad I knew and loved left us a few years ago as his vascular dementia took over his life. That however hasn’t made it any easier to cope with the death of Dad, as although he was not the Dad I knew, physically, it still looked like him, even right to the end.

Memories are all I have of my Dad now, but my love for him will live on, forever.

Take from our souls the strain and stress and let our ordered lives confess, the beauty of your peace

I could really do with some of that these last few days!

kneelAs many of you will know, my Dad passed away last Thursday morning after suffering from vascular dementia for a number of years. In many ways it’s  a relief that Dad has passed away as in these last few years, he’s had no life, and there was no chance of him ever getting better, only worse. Dad’s last few days were painful for us to watch, and he would never have wanted to live like this, so it’s probably for the best that he has passed away

My Dad professed no faith, but as my cousin said the other day, “He (my Dad) had many other qualities”. God has never wanted or expected us all to be good at the same things, so I believe that although Dad professed no faith, God’s qualities and talents were God-given.

It’s been a difficult time for Mum and me, so I’d like to take this opportunity to ask those of you who are praying people, to say a prayer for us tomorrow afternoon (Wednesday 27th February) as we say our final farewell to Dad. Many thanks for the love/support you have already shown my family during these difficult days, it has been very much appreciated by all of us.

Rest in peace Dad xxx

I’ve said it before, but I make no apology for saying it again…dementia is a cruel illness.

As you’ll know if you’ve been following by blog posts for a wee while, my Dad suffers from vascular dementia and has been cared for at home by my Mum 24/7. However a few weeks ago we initiated the process with Social Work to get Dad into a nursing home full-time (you can read more about this in Time To Help…Please!).

Mum’s really been struggling to cope with caring for Dad full-time as he is now totally reliant on Mum to do everything for him…including the simple things we all do without thinking because they’re just straightforward basic tasks. For someone who has dementia, simple everyday tasks which we all normally do without thinking, become strange and alien to them. e.g. washing themself, dressing, feeding themself.

This last week my Dad would not eat or drink anything more than just a couple of mouthfuls of food or liquid, so on Wednesday Mum called in our GP, and he got Dad admitted to hospital as he was suffering from dehydration. While I’m sad my Dad’s ended up in hospital, it is the best place for him and for Mum, as it takes the pressure off Mum caring for him but also means he’s getting professional care. Having now had discussions with the doctor at the hospital and then with Dad’s social worker, it looks like Dad will now remain in hospital until there is free space for him at a local nursing home. That means Dad will now go straight into a nursing home from hospital…he will never be home again…

I’m fine about Dad going into a nursing home as he really needs the level of help they can offer him there, although when I think about the fact that Dad will probably never be home again I find that very upsetting. I try to remind myself though that while Dad is still alive, his body is still here, but the person who was my Dad really left a long time ago…

As far as Mum is concerned, she seems a bit more relaxed now as if a burden has been lifted from her. I know she still feels guilty about Dad going into care, however as hubby and me, Dad’s social worker and various others have said to her, it’s not that she’s failed Dad in any way, it’s simply that she’s done her best up to now caring for him, but he now needs more care than Mum is able to provide for him. When Dad was admitted to hospital on Wednesday Mum was fine about it as she realised it was what was best for Dad, and continued to be ok about it all until we went to visit Dad last night…

When we went into the ward to see Dad, he was lying on his bed slouched down with his head off his pillow, sleeping…he looked small and frail…and I think that was when it all hit Mum…she got quiet upset seeing Dad like that. Although he was actually a bit better last night than he’d been since he went into hospital as he actually answered us a few times when we spoke to him…not necessarily with comprehensible answers, but at least he answered us! Dad might have spoken to us tonight, but he didn’t know who Mum or I were, and no matter how long that has happened for I still find that sad and upsetting…though I can’t imagine how Mum must feel having been married to him for over 55 years!

Dementia is a cruel illness which robs the sufferer of their personality and leaves them almost like an empty body. I don’t think people really understand how dementia affects the sufferer and their family/friends until you’ve actually experienced it yourself…I hope you never will!

In conclusion, can I ask you to help me raise money for Alzheimer’s Scotland as they do a great job supporting and helping Alzheimer/dementia sufferers in Scotland.JustGiving - Sponsor me now!Thank you

Over 2 years ago my Dad was diagnosed with vascular dementia and so now, having seen first hand the devastating effect this illness has on both the sufferer, their carer(s) and their family and friends, I decided it was time to try and give something back to those who work with sufferers and carers in Scotland. So a few weeks ago I set up a JustGiving page to try and raise £500 for Alzheimer Scotland.JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

I’m obviously hoping you will support me by visiting my JustGiving page and giving a donation, but even if you’re not able to or don’t want to do so, I’d urge you to keep read this, as I want to give you some more information about dementia and alzheimers.

What Is Dementia?

Dementia is the progressive loss of the powers of the brain. There are many kinds of dementia but the most common is Alzheimer’s disease. Other kinds of dementia include vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, frontotemporal dementias (including Pick’s disease) and alcohol-related dementias. It is also possible to have more than one type of dementia; for example Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.

What all these diseases have in common is that they damage and kill brain cells, so that the brain cannot work as well as it should.

It is most common in older people but can affect people in their 40s or 50s or even younger.

What Causes Dementia?

At present there is no known cause of dementia. However medical researchers all over the world are working to find causes and develop treatments, and hopefully ultimately a cure.

How Does Dementia Affect People?

How dementia affects each person can vary as it very much depends on the which areas of their brain are most damaged by the disease.

I think the main symptoms which people tend to associate with dementia, is memory loss. Please remember though that everyone forgets things sometimes, and that as we get older we’re all more likely to forget things. When someone has dementia though, what is forgotten and the severity is very different, as they are likely to forget names of their family, not just of strangers. They may burn pans because they have forgotten about them, forget what they have eaten for lunch, or even if they’ve had any lunch. They may ask the same questions over and over again and again not remembering they’ve asked them before.

One of my worst experiences with Dad was the first time he asked me who I was because he didn’t know me. I went home in floods of tears that night and cried for days afterwards every time I thought about it. While I’ve got used to the fact that Dad no longer knows who I am, it still hurts, but most of all it’s sad that this is what he has been reduced to.

Another common symptom of dementia is losing awareness of which day it is or of the time of day. I know Dad never seems to understand whether it’s day or night, regardless of whether it’s light outside or completely dark!

Sufferers can also find themselves getting lost even when in a familiar place. They may fail to recognise people they have known for years and see on a regular basis. Confusion is a common symptom which in turn makes the suffer less able to problem solve or think things through logically. It can make dealing with financial matters difficult and can be dangerous as they are more likely to be taken in by fraudsters.

One of the worse symptoms as far as I’m concerned is, the way my Dad’s personality and his behaviour has changed. He’s much more aggressive and stubborn than he used to be and now often gets annoyed. These are also symptoms of dementia and as I say they are probably the most distressing for us, as it means Dad really isn’t Dad anymore…it’s like somebody else living in his body.

Over a period of time, it is normal for the dementia to affect most functions of the suffer’s brain. Eventually, most people with dementia will probably need help with every simple daily activities, such as dressing, eating and going to the toilet.

My Situation Now

Right from the time of Dad’s diagnosis, Mum has said she would care for Dad at home as long as she possibly could. I’ve witnessed Mum finding things more and more difficult as the months have gone by and Dad’s condition has worsened.

Dad’s now at the stage where he needs help with tasks which we all do without thinking each day, like eating, washing, dressing and going to the toilet. So much so that over the last few weeks, my Mum has made a hard decisions about my Dad’s future, one which I fully support, and that is that he now needs to live in care.

we’ve initiated the process with social work to get Dad into care, so hopefully in the coming weeks we’ll find a suitable place which is able to take him, as I really don’t think Mum can look after him at home any longer. It’s been decided Dad needs to go into a nursing home rather than a care home as he needs more intensive and specific care than can be offered at a care home, so as they say, the hunt is on!

Please pray for my Dad and my Mum in the coming weeks as we try to sort out Dad’s future in a home we are happy with.

Once again, if you are able to, please donate to my JustGiving fundraising page as I try to raise money, as well as awareness, for Alzheimer Scotland, who do a grand job of supporting dementia sufferers and carers all over Scotland.
JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

One of the saddest things I ever heard was the very first time, probably just over a year ago, when my Dad asked me who I was.

For those of you who’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know that my Dad suffers from vascular dementia, and has over the space of the last couple of years got progressively worse.

It was heart wrenching the first few times when Dad asked who I was, and although it’s still very sad when he asks either me or Mum who I am, I am getting used to it as I know it’s simply part of this rotten disease that he’s suffering from and nothing else.

Well today is my Dad’s 85th birthday, a day where we should be rejoicing in the fact that he’s still with us. Unfortunately though it’s not such a happy occasion as Dad doesn’t remember it’s his birthday let alone what age he is. Despite Dad not knowing it’s his birthday, we did still get him a card and a present, as although he doesn’t know it’s his birthday, we do!  The sad thing is Dad didn’t understand why we were giving him anything or even what he was supposed to do with the card and present, so Mum ended up having to help him open both.

Dementia is a horrible illness, it’s indiscriminate in who it affects, but it’s affects are life changing not only for the sufferer but their family as well.

I pray that all affected directly by dementia receive the love and support they required to cope with this debilitating illness.

Last Saturday in Respite Care Request I spoke about how this week my Dad, who suffers from vascular dementia, was going into a local care home (David Walker Gardens) for a week’s respite care, to give my Mum, who cares for Dad at home, a rest.

I had taken Monday off so that I could help Mum get Dad ready to go to the care home, and then obviously take him there. I didn’t sleep terribly well on Sunday night as I kept thinking about how sad it was that Dad’s condition had deteriorated so much that he now relies completely on others to do just about everything for him now.

I was at the doctors early on Monday morning and when I got home, I got a phone call from Mum – she was getting a bit stressed as Dad was refusing to get out of bed and didn’t want to go to the care home. I tried to reassure Mum that as Dad was likely to forget within a few minutes, the conversation he’d just had with her, he’d probably get up in a wee while and be ok about going to the care home. I agreed to have my lunch and then head over to help get Dad ready.

When I got over to Mum and Dad’s, Dad was up and dressed, although Mum intercepted me at the front door to tell me Dad was still refusing to go to the care home. Mum had packed a small case for Dad, so I took that out to the car before Dad even knew I had got there. We managed to convince Dad to come out with us, by telling him we were going to see my Aunt – my Aunt lives at the same care home my Dad was going into for the week.

When we got to the care home, I think Dad had completely forgotten our earlier discussions, as he was fine when we went to his room, with his suitcase and then left him in the hands of the care worker. That was the tough bit, leaving Dad, and I know it was even harder for Mum.

As with the last time in November when Dad went into the same place for a week, Mum and I agreed we should not go and visit Dad during the week – in some ways this sounds harsh as I know Dad will be totally confused about where he is and why he;s there, however how is Mum going to get a break and relax if we keep going to visit Dad each day?

I was working on Tuesday and Wednesday, but after work both days I spent some time with Mum after I finished at work – going for coffee, shopping or dinner on both nights.

On Thursday Mum had one of her friends round for coffee and a blether in the morning, and in the afternoon Mum and me dealt with some of my Aunts business and then we headed to Silverburn shopping centre, for a wander round the shops and some dinner. Now here’s the surprise, between us we only bought one thing at the shops! – Mum bought herself a jumper. By the time I got home I was feeling really sore and very tired, so just spent the rest of the evening relaxing, despite all the housework needing done.

On Friday, Mum wasn’t feeling 100% so rather than go for a run in the car somewhere as we’d previously planned (which fitted in fine as both hubby and me weren’t feeling 100% either), we just went out for a sandwich for our lunch and then I picked up a few bits of shopping. Mum said she was quite happy to just spend the rest of the day herself relaxing.

Today, I was at the hairdressers in the morning, and when I was finished there, Mum and me headed out to the shops for a wee while. We’d planned to go through to Stirling with my hubby but he still wasn’t feeling too good.

The week’s been a mixture of ups and downs – between Dad going into the care home, some issues I had to get resolved at work, being in a lot of pain quite a few days this week, and feeling (and being) very emotional quite a lot, which if you know me at all will know I find it very difficult letting others see my emotions, so it’s been a all round tough week.

Part of me is glad this week is over, but part of me wishes it wouldn’t end, as although I hate the thought of Dad being in a care home, I know it’s what is needed to give Mum a well-earned rest from caring for Dad at home 24/7. Personally I don;t think Mum’s going to be able to care for Dad at home all that much longer as she’s finding it more and more difficult as Dad’s condition deteriorates, and his needs become more demanding on her.

We go to collect Dad from the care home and take him home on Monday, so I’d appreciate your prayers for Mum and Dad on Monday, as it’s likely to be difficult, as Dad will be very confused about what’s going on and where he is. The social worker assigned to my Mum and Dad is due to visit my Mum again in the next week or two to “discuss the future”, so I’d ask that you pray for Mum, Dad and the social worker,that the right decisions might be made for both Mum and Dad so that they can both live a comfortable life – I know there’s going to come a time soon when Dad needs to go into a care home full-time. When that time comes, it’s going to be tough, but ultimately I know looking after Dad 24/7 is definitely having a detrimental impact on Mum’s quality of life and her health.

Thank you all for your continued support during these difficult times for my family.

Do you believe in God? Do you believe in the power of prayer?

If you answered yes to those questions, I’d like to ask for you support in prayer in this coming week…

My Dad suffers from vascular dementia and over the last year or two his condition has deteriorated very quickly. So much so that he is barely able to di anything for himself now. He is still living at home (at present), where my Mum cares for him 24/7.

Mum has been finding it more and more difficult to cope with Dad over the last little while and has been talking about it maybe going to be time for Dad to go into care permanently, soon.

In November last year Dad went for a weeks respite care to the same care home my aunt (my Mum’s sister) lives in full-time. Although my Dad remembered nothing of his time there, the break did do my Mum the world of good, especially as the staff at the care home were able to reassure Mum that Dad had settled in ok.

Within a few weeks of Dad’s week in respite care, the social worker had got Mum to agree to putting Dad’s name down again for another week’s respite…there’s about an 8 week waiting list!

That’s the background to my prayer request today. So here’s why I’m asking for your prayers…on Monday, Dad is going back to the same care home for another week’s respite care so Mum can get a well earned break again.

Although Mum needs the break and is looking forward to having time for her rather than caring for Dad 24/7, I know she will really miss him, and she’s not the only one, as I’ll miss him too. The social worker who is dealing with Dad told us it was better not to visit Dad while he was in the care home, just so Mum could get a complete break – Mum did of course phone then nearly every day to check that Dad was ok.

Personally, I never ever wanted Mum or Dad to have to go into a care home, however I know how much Mum is struggling to cope with looking after Dad these days, so in that sense I’m glad Dad is going for respite care on Monday. That said, even although we’ve done this before, it’s still going to be a tough day taking Dad to the care home and leaving him there for a whole week.

While Dad in respite care next week, Mum will get a good chance to relax plus do exactly what she wants to do with no time constraints. I’ve taken a few days off too, so will spend those days with Mum and maybe go for a run in the car somewhere different, just for a change.

In closing, I would therefore like to ask you to pray for Mum and Dad next week as Dad goes in for a week’s respite care – I know Mum would appreciate it too if you would pray for them.

Thank you, and God bless.  .x

We’re in His Hands,
We’re in His hands,
Whatever the future holds,
We’re in His hands.

Well that’s us at Sunday night again, so where has this last week gone?!

This time last week, Dad wasn’t too well, and we were looking forward with trepidation and relief that come the Monday, Dad was going into a care home for a week’s respite are so Mum could get a well-earned rest.

This must have been one of the quickest weeks ever (I know Mum would agree!). I’ve taken Mum out somewhere every day bar yesterday when she went to my cousin’s for dinner – We’ve been out for lunch, dinner, shopping, wandering round the shops, as well as cleaning out my aunt’s house, so I’ve kept her busy! Normally when Dad’s at home Mum doesn’t really get much time away from him at all, as she doesn’t like to leave Dad alone for very long these days so I think it’s been good for her to get a chance to spend some time for herself…even if most of it has been with me!

I think Mum’s enjoyed her week, even if she’s maybe not had a chance to do some of the things in her house she’d intended doing…but then a week’s respite shouldn’t be spent doing housework should it!

Anyway, it may have been a quick week in some ways, however in others it’s been a very tough week, wondering how Dad is and how he’s getting on – I know Mum has phoned the care home several time to see how he is and been told he’s ok, confused and a bit emotional but doing alright. I can’t imagine just how tough this has been for Mum being apart from Dad, after all they’ve been married for over 50 years!

So tomorrow we go back to the care home and pick Dad up and bring him home again. I wonder whether he’ll understand what’s happening and that he’s going home…will he even know who we are? Time will tell!

I’ve been writing about what’s been happening with Dad because vascular dementia is such a rotten illness, and is indiscriminate about who it affects, so I just want to let you know a little of the challenges and daily stresses that face both the sufferer and their carers, and how draining physically and emotionally that can be for the carer.

Finally, I’d just like to say on behalf of both Mum and I a huge thank you to all who have prayed for Mum and Dad this week, and those who have phoned or visited Mum to see how she was getting on – Mum really has been appreciated it, and I’ve been thankful that so many of you have offered support to Mum too during this difficult time.

Thank you.  .x