Alzheimer’s Diaries – The Progression Part 2 #alzheimers
This is going to be a hard post as it not only highlights the rapid progression of Alzheimer’s with mum but the unfortunate consequences of Parental Alienation as well. We are now in December 2022 and nearly coming to the end of another year and with the rapid progression of mum’s Alzheimer’s, I am not sure how long she will have left. I have fought long and hard to be in my children’s lives not only for me but also for my family.
When a family member is diagnosed with something like Alzheimer’s you want your children to have some kind of relationship with their grandmother before it is too late. Unfortunately, this is a normal situation that happens all too often when Parental Alienation is involved. Just because you choose not to be with someone does not give them the right to stop or dictate how a child has a relationship with another parent.
This has wider implications especially when a family member is ill, my children will now not get a chance to know their grandmother. Nor will they have had the opportunity to know how she was before she became ill. Mum is a shell of her former self and if you knew my mother when we were young you would not recognise her now at all. The way this disease takes hold rapidly is scary and very upsetting.
I am sorry my children did not have the opportunity to get to know her before she fell ill and this is unforgivable behaviour. This is not something I will be able to forgive or forget, not just for me as a father but for my mother who loved her grandchildren so much. Mum never had the opportunity to build that grandparent and grandchild bond, which is a real shame and she did not deserve it.
Anyway, we cannot change what has happened but can only hope for a brighter future for my family and friends. Now, mum has rapidly declined over the last few weeks and I am just honest about the situation with her as some other carers might feel alone and cannot discuss it. We are all learning and have an open and frank conversation about its impact on the carer and wider family.
Mum’s memory retention has increasingly got shorter during the last few weeks, personal hygiene and care are one of the biggest challenges for someone who suffers from Alzheimer’s. I was advised to buy snacks and easy-to-eat foods for mum so she can pick up and go with things to eat. This brings a whole set of new issues which is the hiding of food and mess. Mum has no sense of the mess, cleaning or maintenance of the household.
As a carer, you are constantly checking draws for hidden mouldy food and cleaning up after them daily which can be really time-consuming. Mum cannot regulate portions or concept of day and time which can also be a very big issue. So as a carer you need to keep on top of foods and expiration dates as they will still eat it if off or mouldy as they cannot tell the difference.
Things going missing in the house is a daily occurrence which means you spend most of the day looking for or trying to replace what has gone missing and can be quite an expensive problem. As the disease progresses mum has become more stubborn and argumentative as she loses her independence. This brings me on to my new point of explaining to mum not to answer the front door when the bell rings.
The main reason is for her safety as you do get some unscrupulous people knocking sometimes and I don’t want her to be a victim of a crime as well as all the things she is currently going through. So, I have got CCTV and a Ring doorbell installed around the property. Mum still listens to the TV with no sound and gets zero stimulation for the brain. I cannot get her to engage in anything, unfortunately, which I believe has also contributed to her rapid decline.
Mum’s paranoid behaviour is increasing and always says she does not want to be too loud and upset neighbours hence why she sits in silence all day with no sound on the TV. Having a conversation with mum is a big challenge now as I feel she only picks up on maybe 25% of the conversation as her brain cannot process the information anymore.
It’s not easy being a carer I have had to put my life on hold for mum as she needs her family. There is no way she could look after herself the most mum can do now is sometimes wash and eat and even these can be a challenge.
If you are a carer for a loved one speak to your local council, age UK and other organisations for support. You also need self-care, respite and downtime to continue your hard and very challenging work as a carer.
#alzheimers #family #carer #mum