Saturday, January 9, 2010

My Grandmother

I lived with Mum's mother for several years before Mum took her to live at her house. In her old age, my grandmother was still mostly the same person, but there were some worrying signs. There were personality changes. If she'd meet someone she knew on the street, she would start talking to them and never stop. You could see they wanted to get away but she wouldn't let them. If I took her to the solicitor, she'd hold the floor for up to three hours. In the end I'd have to say "Come on Nan, time to go," to get her away. She'd also ring the university and demand to speak to a professor of English. Then she'd ask him to spell a word for her.

At times when I tried to stop her making these phone calls, she'd threaten to call the police. I offered to move out of her house, but she asked me not to go. So I stayed, but she drove me crazy at times. She was never forgetful though.

My mother took her to live with her when she was 69, and she died aged 71 of a stroke.

Going back further, Mum's grandmother did not have dementia at all until three weeks before she died at the age of 86. Then, she started to act very strangely and paranoid. She was taken to hospital, where she died three weeks later. I think she also died of a stroke.

Mum's grandmother did have agoraphobia, though. She did not leave her house for 40 years. In fact she wouldn't go past the front door.

So sometimes I wonder if dementia is hereditary, but my mother's mother and grandmother did not have the same symptoms that she has, and not as severe.

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