The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
The ups and downs of helping my dad care for my grandmother who suffers from Dementia
Moving and Playing the Game!
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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 ...
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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July 15, 2013 12:01 a.m.

You can usually talk to someone and know when something isn't right. At that point, you follow your gut feeling and go with the flow. That is exactly what happened to me tonight. This gut feeling told me that Grandma was going to be upset. So, instead of upsetting her even more, I played along with the delusion she was having. I think my husband told me once to just go with the stories instead of confusing her even more.
I arrived at Grandma's to find her pulling dishes from every cabinet in the kitchen. She had every fork, spoon, knife, cup, saucer, bowl, and pan stacked in the kitchen. She looked at me like a deer in headlights when I walked in the door. I guess I startled her when I walked in her door. She informed me that we needed to hurry and load this stuff up because "the lady" was using them to serve dinner. I asked who was the lady. She replied with a lady from the church. She wanted to know if I had a car. I nodded yes. Grandma jumped into action. The next thing I know...we are loading all the dishes in my van. She started pulling clothes, vinyl records, photo albums, suitcases full of junk, and every dish she owned out of every corner of her house and loading it in my van. After the first three loads, it was far too late for me to stop her. I had to just go with the delusion. Toilet paper, magazines, photos from the walls, decorations, and shoes came pouring out of Grandma's house. She packed my van with so much stuff! I tried three or four times to tell her enough was enough. I tried to reason with her by saying we would take this load and come back for the rest. She just kept bringing more and more stuff. We loaded a telephone, scrapbooks, a painting, another tape player and almost all her china.
I finally convinced her to get in the van to go. She agreed. I pretended to lock the door as she got in the van. She saw her lawn chair and wanted me to grab it. I ignored the request. We pulled out of the driveway. She said she was tired and didn't understand why we couldn't just spend the night. I said we could but we would have to unload everything eventually. She told me to just drive. At this point, I noticed the neighbors across the street watching and trying to figure out what in the world we were doing when we left.
I rounded the first corner. AS SOON AS WE TURNED RIGHT....She realized we were at her house, but it was too late for me to fix what was about to happen next. Grandma let me know real quick that I wasn't pulling anything over on her. She knew I was just trying to get her out of her house. I tried to argue, but it was pointless. We drove to my parent's home. I saw my dad in the doorway. I motioned for him to come out and talk to her. He was reluctant, because I think he sensed that I was in big trouble with her.
She let him know that I was being silly and trying to move her out of her house. We both informed her over and over and over and over and over...you get the point...we were not trying to do any such thing. I finally told her that I was going to take her home. She calmed down and gave in a little.
As we pulled out of Dad's driveway, she informed me on how to get to her house from his. We went back home. The neighbors at this point had lined up lawn chairs in their yard across the street. I don't know if they knew we would be back soon or just wanted to watch to see if there was anything worth stealing, but there they sat watching and laughing.
We pulled in the driveway. After being chewed out for over 25 minutes, I was ready for more. She turned and looked at me with the sweetest face and lovingly stated: "Thank you honey for bringing me back home. I didn't want to stay in that other town tonight."
You just want to scream at her and try to figure out WHAT IN THE WORLD? But it is pointless. We unloaded the van. I piled everything back up in the kitchen and dining room. I'm sure the neighbors had a big laugh.
I went straight to my bedroom and threw myself across the bed. She came in and gave me her teeth and said she was going to bed as well. I replied "that is probably a good idea!"
Of course, the thought of all that stuff being piled up in the dining room got the best of her and within an hour, she was up and putting it all back where it belonged.
Moral of the story, don't play along with the delusion...unless you are willing to play the entire game. I had to play the entire game and this quarterback was wiped out! Wait, I guess I was a receiver or tailback. Quarterbacks control the game, and Grandma was in complete control of moving her stuff! I just ran the play that she called.

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