A personal blog...

...chronicling the dementia adventures of...

...Girl and

The Other Girl...

...sharing hilarious and 

heartbreaking moments

of life...

 

...with our mom who has vascular dementia.

 

"Courage is being scared to death...

... but saddling up anyway." - John Wayne I receive lots of pats on the back from family and friends regarding my sister and I taking care of our Mom. People always say how "hard it must be," use the words "courage," "perseverance," and praise us with the phrases "Proud of you," and "You two are doing an amazing job." (Which leads me to reflect that my sister and I must have been perceived as true f@%k ups before my Dad died, 'cause people are seriously stunned that we've manage to pull this off so far!) Praise for the job we're doing for Mom is always appreciated. Sometimes the flood gates burst open when I get verbal affirmation from others as Mom no longer has the capacity to thank us in

Pimp it out.

Medical bracelets that you actually want to wear. Mom has a classic sense of style. Even though her choice of wardrobe has moved from classic to downright bizarre... ... she still enjoys lovely things. When Mom first started feeling lost out in the world, she policed herself, she only went to places she knew really well and eventually gave up driving of her own accord. Still, we wanted her to have a medical bracelet. We didn't want the first time she wandered out of our reach to be the last. But the medical bracelet selections were brutish, obvious, ugly things, utilitarian looking with a red cross glaringly announcing that you got something wrong with you, big time. We couldn't embarrass he

The Other Girl

Not near as sexy as it sounds. The ability to identify my sister and I by name left Mom a long time ago. The first time I realized this I was screwing around in the back yard, peripherally hearing someone say "Girl? Girl?" As I realized it was my mother's voice, I looked around to see her on the balcony above, beckoning me, the "Girl" to come up and join her. I felt as if I had suddenly been transported to a pre-Civil War plantation, and I, the hired help, dutifully headed up the back stairs to see what she needed. Since then my sister and I have gotten used to being the "Girl." Whomever is not at home has now been christened "The Other Girl." Now, this gets real tricky when both of us are s

♪♪ You deserve a break today… ♪♪

Embrace respite care. It's totally worth it. We were reticent about respite care in the beginning. We thought that while Mom was not cognitive enough to live on her own anymore, she was too cognitive to escape feeling like she was being "dumped off for babysitting" with a group of strangers who were in way worse shape than her. Then last spring we went through a three-week period where we weren't finding enough for her to do during the day, she wasn't sleeping at night (so we weren't sleeping either), she was restless, and her anxiety was at "Sundowner's all damn day long!" levels. My sister and I were losing our minds from lack of sleep and a failure to coax even the briefest of smiles from

Throw the garbage out the door. Throw the poop around the house.

I'll skip adding a photo. She's a ninja. She's stealthy. You don't hear her until you close the fridge door to find her standing behind it staring at you intently. Scares the bejeezus out of 'ya! She's also tidy. You can't turn your back on her while cooking; serving plates disappear, spatulas still in use are suddenly in the dish washer. Two nights ago, a big bunch of freshly cleaned vegetables waiting to be chopped for a sauté went straight out the back door and onto the patio. She "cleaned up the mess." Uh... thanks? Last Thanksgiving, the cooked (and unguarded) turkey on my sister's kitchen counter was discovered in the back yard; the dog gobbling it up as fast as she could, while thanki

Her ears were cold...

... so now she looks like an old-timey toothache. Dementia is so often described as heartbreaking, devastating, destructive, horrible, and it is. But it's also hilarious, comical, even endearing in a weird way, and an opportunity to be the best daughter you can be. I mean, my dad died three weeks after receiving a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer - the cancer just barrelled through him - and in that short amount of time so much was not said; we were struck speechless with fear, denial, and then the sudden finality of grief. Is that better than the long goodbye of dementia? I don't know. I do know that by the time my mother passes away, there will not be a single thing that we haven't said or d

Favorite text... so far.

I often send/receive texts from my sister during the week (she's at her job on the coast for half the week, then comes here to take her days with Mom). A funny picture of Mom's choice of outfits, a rant if the day's going to shit, or a "Hooray!" if the day is awesome in some special way. This one, however, is my all time favorite... so far From my sister: "Woke up to poop in my bathrobe pocket. How's your morning going?" My Response: "Toothpaste in her hair." #dementiahumor #january2018

Dementia on the go, go, GO!

Or... I wish to gawd she'd nap. Our mother can't abide sitting still. No relaxing naps, no kicking-back and Netflix bingeing, no putting one's feet up in front of the big bay window and spying on neighbors. This is especially debilitating to my sister and I when hangovers come into play (wine nights on the patio after Mom goes to bed are essential to my sanity). And yet, 'ya still gotta get up in the morning and get her, and yourself, moving. And the Oscar for keeping her Most Busy goes to... Well, a lot of things, actually. Around the beginning of the month, I start looking for free or inexpensive activities to start filling Mom's calendar with. Music events are always good. Anything to do

The Greatest Dementia Activity EVER!

Opening Minds Through Art (OMA) at Rose Villa Of all the ways we've found to keep Mom socialized and engaged with her world, Opening Minds through Art at Rose Villa is definitely the standout. About OMA Art “OMA was founded by Dr. Elizabeth “Like” Lokon in 2007 and is grounded in person-centered care principles. People with dementia (artists) are paired with volunteers who are trained to rely on imagination instead of memory and focus on remaining strengths instead of lost skills." There are three sessions a year; five one-hour classes in a session. The fantastic OMA Art Show concludes each session with the artists works on display, a silent auction, and best of all complimentary wine! (

Stumped Town Dementia

featured on...

Here & Now

NPR

May 2020

Open Caregiving

August 2020

When They Forget

Podcast

September 2020

Alzheimer's Society UK

March 2018

AlzAuthors

July 2019

Ro & Steve

June 2019

Being Patient

December 2018

Family Caregiver Alliance

September 2018

Alzheimer's Society UK

August 2018

The Caregiver Space

September 2018

© 2017-2020 All Rights Reserved, Stumped Town Dementia, Portland, Oregon

Created with Wix.com