Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Get me out of here, I hate it!

Moving Day finally arrived yesterday. I had already set up Mum's bedsitter unit at the nursing home really nicely with all her family photos and so on, as well as her china cabinet and an antique dresser that she loves. I spent hours and hours on it. But people with dementia have no understanding of these things and no idea the extent of what you try to do for them.

She was absolutely furious when she saw the unit. She started shouting "I'm not staying here, take me home!" and other horrible things such as "Well, I'm sure you're happy now you've managed to dump me and get rid of me." "I'm calling your brother to come and get me." (As if he'd come, ha.)

I had intended to spend hours there organizing her clothes and taking her on a tour of the place including checking out the magnificant 180 degree sea views. But she was so foul and nasty I was out of there in a few minutes. I'm not stopping to listen to abuse.

When asked to go to the dining room for lunch she said "No, I'll go out to lunch every day thank you very much!" in a nasty tone of voice. I told her I was not taking her out for lunch but was going home soon. So she angrily stomped up to the dining room where they sat her next to a very nice gentleman. He greeted her and asked how she was. She said "I'm not happy and I don't want to talk to you."

Most of the people in this section either don't have dementia at all or have very mild dementia. Mum was able to mostly mask her symptoms during her time in hospital so no-one has seen her acting like this before. In fact, she only got into this unit because they did another 30-question dementia test at the hospital and she got 26/30, which is normal for someone her age. The dementia quizzes are useless for Mum. It's her weird, paranoid behaviour that is more the problem, not her knowledge of various things. For example they asked her the name of Italy's president during World War 2 and she not only answered correctly but added a number of facts on fascism. This is an indication of her former level of intelligence and I don't believe these 30-question dementia quizzes are any use for people who were formerly near-geniuses; their intelligence level has certainly dropped but it's still nowhere near below normal.

She was to have gone into the next level of care, based on my observations of her behaviour which I told the doctor about. However, somehow she knew she had to behave herself at the hospital and put on an act of normality and she pulled it off and as a result she's really at a level of care that's not high enough for her. If she's not watched when showering, she'll just turn on the water and not even get under it then put on the same clothes she's been wearing for a week, including the dirty underwear. When I asked her at the hospital why she was putting on the same underwear all the time she said it was because I hadn't given her any other underwear, whereas there were ten pairs in the drawer. She never thinks to look in drawers for underwear - she just decides there's none there and that's that. And it's no use me telling her the underwear is there - within seconds that fact has gone from her memory.

I hope she manages to stay in the bedsitter unit. The next level is a single hospital-style room with no space for her own furniture. But if she keeps being nasty to people she won't get to stay there, that's for sure.

1 comment:

  1. Hi there,
    I know you're probably tired of hearing this, but I really am sorry. My mother has dementia too and is in the moderate stages. As I write this, she has woken me up several times tonight so I figure why the heck even bother to sleep? But that's just my anger and frustration talking; I'll get to sleep soon!

    Have you ever read "The 36 Hour Day" ? All symptoms and behaviours are detailed in it, along with suggestions for coping. This is a horrible disease, and it seems that it's left to the youngest and most vibrant family members to give up their lives for the ill person. NO ONE HELPS, that's the universal truth, and it's terrible. God bless you and take care.


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