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The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
The ups and downs of helping my dad care for my grandmother who suffers from Dementia
Thank you, Dementia!
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About this blog
By Carole Anderson
I am a local teacher. I have three daughters and a very, very busy life. My husband is a mental health therapist. He is probably the reason I stay sane. Family is the No. 1 priority in my life. My 88-year-old grandmother has dementia, and my father ...
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Life is Hard...If You Don't Know or Remember the Directions
I am a local teacher. I have three daughters and a very, very busy life. My husband is a mental health therapist. He is probably the reason I stay sane. Family is the No. 1 priority in my life. My 88-year-old grandmother has dementia, and my father is her primary guardian. She recognizes very few of her family members now. She does however remember me and my girls. Because of this, we are able to help to take care of her. With this blog, we share our memories, moments of insanity and our breakdowns. We have found that by seeing the humor with Dementia, we are able to survive. I hope this blog helps anyone taking care of a loved one that is dealing with a similar situation. Sometimes it helps knowing others are out there answering the same questions and just taking it one day at a time.
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Thank you, Dementia!





Thank you?  Yes, you read it right.  Dementia is all about the mind and what is lost from our loved ones.  But sometimes, when our loved ones lose someone then the grieving process is really easy.





It has been almost three years since my grandfather passed away.  He was 92.   He hurt his hip and went down fast from that point.  While we were losing Grandpa, Grandma was oblivious to the situation.





Tonight, when I came in the door, she was doing her usual packing and moving from one room to another.  I asked her what she was doing.  She told me about Grandpa going to Hot Springs and wanting to get a house over there.  I just went along with the story.  She said she was having to pack everything and get ready for the move.  I asked her about the clothes and items on the table.  She said she didn't know how they got there.  She reiterated how upset she was with Grandpa.  She said that she wished he would just get settled and stay in one spot.





We tell her all the time that Grandpa is dead and he isn't coming back.  Do you know how hard that is to say every single day?   And why do we say it?  Grandma isn't going to remember it.  She isn't going to cry about losing him.  We only say it for our benefit.  She will ask when Grandpa is going to get there.  I tell her that he is dead.  She gets sad all of 30 seconds, and then she wants to know if she can put the suitcase under my bed or the vinyl records behind the headboard.





How many times have you heard about  married couples dying within a few months of each other because their hearts are broken from their loss?  June and Johnny Cash died within 4 months of each other after 35 years of marriage.  I have no idea if Grandma and Grandpa shared that kind of love for each other.  I do know,however, whenever you saw one, the other one wasn't to far behind.  They were married for over 60 years.  Even if they didn't love each other like Johnny and June, I'm sure one would be lonely without the other.





This is why I am thanking dementia.   Grandma hasn't grieved for Grandpa.  She goes about her daily task waiting for him to get home.  We can tell her about his death and where he is buried, but she forgets and starts over.  I truly believe if the dementia was gone, Grandma wouldn't be with us today.  She would have died within a few months of Grandpa. Not from old age or an illness, but from loneliness and a broken heart.





I know this blog is not like my other post.  It is just something that hit my dad and I.  We were discussing it with my other grandmother earlier tonight.





There are some funny conversations with her about Grandpa.





Grandma:  You can't sleep in this bedroom.  This is Ellis's bedroom. He will be back soon.





Me:  Ellis died.



Grandma:  YEA! (A very sarcastic tone) Sure, you better stop that lying!  You don't know one thing you are talking about.



Me:  (Thinking to myself, Grandma doesn't even know what I am talking about.)  He died 3 years ago.



At this point, grandma usually gets a little flustered, then she comes back with how she is going to tell my daddy.





I give her 5 minutes then she comes in to my room and forgets we had the conversation.  From this point, I am not going to tell her.  I'm just going to play along.  Let the fun begin!    



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