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.

 

Dementia Oscars!

Mom picks the winners. When you try and watch a movie with Mom at home she's up, then she's down. She's futzing in the kitchen. She's going potty. She's brushing her hair with a toothbrush. She's putting a bra on over her sweater and shoes on the wrong feet - she's BUSY! Even if it was The Film Most Likely to Entertain Dementia People - Money-Back Guaranteed!, with nothing but toddlers and kittens cavorting, rollicking, and squealing she'd eventually be up, talking to her "friend" in the hallway mirror and searching for a pair of panties to pull on up over her jeans. It's part of the fun of dementia (Aaaaack!), but really annoying the 100th time you've hit the pause button to coax her back t

Finding friends in unlikely places.

(i do not know what it is about you that closes and opens;only something in me understands the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses) - e.e. cummings The first time I saw Mom with her new "friend" was about six months ago when I poked my head outside the kitchen doorway, and saw her in front of the hallway mirror. "Mom, dinner!" I said cheerily. She turned to me, then turned to the mirror, "Come on," she coaxed. A pause. "Aren't you coming?" she asked the mirror, then turned back to me, shrugged, and said, "She won't come." Well, okay then! In the time since, Mom has developed quite a friendship with the mirror lady. The hallway mirror is on the door of the linen closet. Several times

Happy Birthday to YOU! Blow out the candles. Oh, nope... okay, uh, try again...

Mom and the state of Oregon share their birthdays with Valentine's Day. I'm not sure how the state of Oregon did when it came to blowing out its 159 candles, but getting Mom to blow out 3 had me and The Other Girl in stitches. Did you notice Mom's two new versions of a smile in the video? The first one, she squeezes her eyes shut and compresses her mouth. We're not quite sure where that comes from as we are always on the other side of the camera grinning like idiots to get her to mimic us. Instead we get an I Dream of Jeannie atrocity flashing across her face. Maybe she's trying to blink us away? (She's always been camera shy.) Maybe she's conjuring up Major Nelson in our stead? He is certai

Compression socks.

What fresh new hell is this? When you're not old, but you get thrown headfirst into an old person's world, it takes some getting used to. For starters there appears to be a billion pills to take a day, so much so that they actually make plastic organizers for pills, because you have that many pills! To take! In a single day! (In case you're not getting this, I was blown away by the mountains of pills consumed daily when I started this caregiving lifestyle.) But I get past the pill thing, and me and The Other Girl get a routine down. Pills are refilled, sorted into their plastic containers, given at correct times in correct dosages and it's all good. Then, there's the pace of life. I mean, th

Mother's Little Helper

Two pills that have made a gianormous difference for Mom. The Other Girl and I are lucky, Mom has not, to this point, exhibited any of the anger or aggressive tendencies that so many other care givers have to contend with. What we have faced is debilitating anxiety, extreme sadness, and sleepless nights, one after the other after the other.... This late-night email to my sister illustrates how frustrated and beat down we got. "Jeeeeeezus, what a f@&king day. I'd like to say the highlight was when Mom told me at lunch that she wished she was dead. But that got eclipsed by the tears that leaked out of her eyes all evening, reaching a waterfall climax before bed (of which she’s upstairs walking

Lydia oh Lydia! Lydia the tattoo lady!

Or... she won't sleep a wink. It's the damnedest thing. One particularly sleepless night. One particularly sleep deprived daughter. One particularly not at all sleepy mother. I had even crawled into bed with her in a no-sleep-'til-Brooklyn haze in a last-ditch effort to entice her to remain in a horizontal state. It did not work as I woke up groggily to Mom outside the bedroom doorway, looking over her shoulder at me whilst beckoning me to join her down the hallway. I begged her to come lay down. Pleaded with her that I was too tired to get up. She approached the bed, continuing to gesture at me until I realized she wasn't giving me a come-hither motion at all, she was actually pointing at

There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.

- Albert Schweitzer As we already have the cats, the fabulous Bebe Wonderpants and incomparable Sir Sarcasmo, we work to fit music into Mom's life as often as possible, because we're pretty sure Albert Schweitzer, with his Nobel Peace Prize (show-off), is smarter than us so we might as well heed his wisdom. That being said (and I'm not all that sure it needed to be, but I stand behind all my run-on sentences), All Classical Portland not only has my go-to events calendar to consult when I'm in need of something interesting and engaging to do with Mom, but also offers a terrific in-house event at the station: Thursdays @ Three. Thursdays @ Three is a meaningful and fun way to fill an afternoon

First day of art class!

Mom is back-to-school. Mom is back at her Opening Minds through Art class. This is the fourth time she's taken this class, and it's a truly wonderful way to keep her engaged and creative. (We just have to put up with glitter on all our clothes for the next 5 weeks.) Judging by the other artist's smiles as they leave the classroom, it's working for them too! While we take advantage of OMA in the Portland metro area, it is an international program offered all over the world. Check their website to see if there are classes in your area. The Art Show for this class session will be Friday, March 23rd, 6:30pm at Rose Villa. Mark your calendars, bring your checkbooks, and join us! #openingmindsthro

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

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