MOM HAS DEMENTIA, Our Third Stage
Early Onset Dementia
On this page, I would like to talk about my moms third stage of early onset Alzheimer's, Dementia. It is very hard to watch a young family member start to lose their memory and train of thought. I feel like my mom had so many good years to look forward to, yet her life was cut short with this terrible disease. There is no hope for treatment or a cure. I get frustrated knowing that it's only going to continuously get worse. I love my mom, and wish that this was not happening to her.
Our Third Stage
3 Year Period
Starting around 2010, for 3 years, my mother went through this stage. It ended in October 2013. This was the roughest stage for my family. My moms condition progressed pretty severely through this stage. At the beginning of this stage, my mom was officially diagnosed with early onset dementia.
During this stage so much went on. I will probably sound like I am rambling because this stage was so chaotic.
Sometime in 2010, her doctor sent her to a neurologist. The neurologist diagnosed my mom with early onset dementia and prescribed a medication that could help. Not sure what the medication is, or if it has help. It might as well be a sugar pill because dementia can't be cured, and she has consistently gotten worse since.
If your like me! you started researching respectable medical websites to find out what dementia is exactly. How does someone get dementia? Is there something out there to reverse the effects of dementia? What can someone do to slow down the process of dementia? I have no medical background what so ever, so it is very hard to comprehend any of the information out there. What I have found is thousands of websites repeating the same information over and over again in different ways, most using big confusing words like frontotemportal, logopenic, cortical, and subcortical. Those are just a few of the words that make no sense to me, but what I have found out is that there is no cure and that it just keeps getting worse. There are stages, some websites say 3, some say 7, and some say 10 stages or more. All I can tell you as I go through this with my mom is that there are stages. There is nothing that is FULLY proven to help or treat dementia. It is linked to type II diabetes in many cases, but there is no solid information on how or why. There is numerous possible causes, again nothing solid and you or your loved one might have several of the possible causes going on. All we can hope for is more research and awareness, and to help people understand it in the early stages, so we can help people who have dementia get through it emotionally and physically.
Click on the Mayo Clinic image or go to web address below to find medical information on dementia. I'm sure there are lots of reputable trustworthy websites out there, but I have always found that the mayo clinic will break it down for you, providing only the facts in a non scary way that most can understand. I always use this website for any medical research that I do.
Below is a GPS device that might help you out during this stage. I added a cassette voice recorder as a suggestion as well because my mom used one for most of this stage. She would set reminders for herself. I highly recommend.
Early in This Stage
Some of the things that she was still doing early in this stage was driving her car and making herself breakfast. She was going to Walmart and the grocery store several times in one day and buying the same things over and over, spending a lot of money.
She would talk about her children and grandchildren to everyone and anyone. I know now that she was trying to hold on to her memories. It breaks my heart that I was actually embarrassed when going to the store with her.
For two years of this stage she would listen to her iPod a lot, and play video poker on her computer. She would talk about the game as if the people she was playing with were real people, but we knew they weren't.
She liked to talk about all of her family photos, and loved looking at them. Again, trying to hold on to her memories.
Last Year of This Stage
In December 2012, my dad made it so her car wouldn't work then got a letter from her doctor saying that she couldn't drive. He hung it on the refrigerator for her to see. Shortly after that he sold her car. Also in December 2012 we started talking about getting my dad some help. We knew she couldn't be left alone during the day. We talked about hiring someone to be with her in their house. Nothing ever got done. My dad was so busy taking care of her and going through this emotionally.
She stopped smoking saddening, and told everyone that she quit a long time ago, and that she hasn't smoked in years
My mom started getting worse. Her stories were all mixed up. She stopped all cleaning and hobbies. She was hiding everything, like her cell phone under her mattress, jewelry under her dresser, chap sticks in plants, iPod in a kitchen cabinet, money, keys, test strips, meter, EVERYTHING! My dad spent 90% of his time at home looking for things. Words can't express how crazy this was for him.
She would cook herself the same 3 egg omelette and toast every morning and up to 4 times a day because she would forget that she ate, and forget what time it was. Her sugars were extremely high. She would make the dogs meals. Would place an entire, uncut grilled cheese sandwich on plate for them. She has Shih Tzu's, so it's not quite bite size to them.
She would go through her purse constantly. All day long she would take out every piece of jewelry she owned, pair them up and organize them just to put them all in a container again. I think her brain was craving stimulation at the point.
She would get angry with my dad when he would tell her what she needed to do. She was saying not so nice things to people in public.
She started going to the bathroom hourly or more. She would mumble stuff in the bathroom when she was alone. We could never make out anything she was saying. It never made sense when she mumbled in the bathroom.
We were still correcting her sometimes in this stage, and we would try to reason with her, but that was a waste of time. When we just played along she would have the best time, and laugh a lot. Sometimes we couldn't just play by her rules because my dad had to manage her insulin, sugars and medication. My dad had to start telling her what to do, and she did not like that. She would say that she didn't want to be treated like a child.
After an incident in September 2013, we knew that my dad could no longer take care of her. What happened was my dad was working outside on his truck one Saturday when my mom came out of the house and told him that the oven was hot, and she didn't know why. When he went inside the stove was on fire from grease somehow. Luckily he was there. He put the small fire out, and didn't leave her home alone again. For immediate help and for a month, he had a neighborhood friend come over and hang out with her, and take her places. That was a temporary fix while we figured out what to do.
At that point we knew my mom couldn't stay in her home because we worried she could get up in middle of night and do something. We were in a very dangerous situation, plus my dad still had no POA or HIPAA sign by my mom.
Her car and her bank card should have been taken away from her sometime during our stage two. Don't make the same mistakes we did. It is a miracle that she got through this stage safely because I can't stress enough how important it is to take the car away as soon as you have a feeling something is not right.
I am living in Houston during this stage. I have visited about 7 times during this stage and my mom came to visit me once with my dad. Most of my visits, my kids and I were being pulled in many different directions. Although I put aside a lot of time for my mom, I wish that I would have spent every moment with her.
I'm going to create a new section for the transition into her new home because there was a lot that went on. Finding the home. Finally getting the POA and HIPAA. Also I finally realized how precious time was and I made great use of every moment that I had with her which I should have been doing all along.