Author’s note: I first wrote this on my father’s birthday in December, but I never pushed the “Publish” button. In reviewing the post, I think it’s relevant. This was immediately after Mom’s first documented psychotic break.
Mom’s first hired care-giver started yesterday. I got them situated, giving Mom a bunch of photo albums so she could acquaint her new “friend” with her family. I took the opportunity to work in my office with one ear pointed toward the living room. It went fine.
The bizarre behaviors (mismatched shoes) and hallucinations have abated, but the confusion and forgetfulness are ever-present. She attempted to repair an open seam on the comforter on her bed yesterday, but she kept forgetting what she was doing and gave up.
Mom retains the vivid memory of her adventures in “the apartment” from Saturday, but last night after dinner she told me that she realized how ridiculous the story sounded in retrospect. She also remembers that she’s on a new medication and wants to ensure she takes it properly. I helped her find her shower cap and she’s taking a shower without assistance as I write. The care-giver just arrived, and I have to go see one of my clients. It will be interesting to see how she does while I’m out of the house.
My Dad’s dementia fluctuated; having vascular dementia, his symptoms were constantly changing as mini-strokes went off in his brain. Sometimes, he’d be completely lucid. I referred these as his “visits.” Other times, he’d be interacting with phantoms. The consistent thing was his obvious misery.
Chances are Mom’s dementia is something else, but it sure isn’t linear. Symptoms come and go. The severity of her confusion varies. She can even make jokes about her forgetfulness. It’s a meandering journey. It’s life.