Blog

In Memory of Elizabeth

My grandmother passed away last Wednesday.

Gigi
1912-2017

 

She will be greatly missed, always remembered, always loved.

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Hospice

My grandmother entered Hospice care at home two weeks ago. With her need for 24/7 care, it changed the dynamics of our ability to provide care for all those who need it right now. I needed a break from the 24/7 care we had been providing for my mother-in-law. We checked into respite care and started putting her in adult day care two days a week. Then we hired a caregiver to stay with her in her home rather than ours. Sadly, after a week that did not work out. The caregiver said it was too overwhelming and intense…I wanted to say, “Welcome to my world!”

Thankfully, between Hospice workers, volunteers, paid caregivers, friends, and family we have been able to provide care for everyone. Which is especially helpful this week…my husband and I came down with the flu and I threw my back out last time I helped my grandmother get cleaned up and dressed.

I have noticed since we have been providing care for our loved ones, we seem to get sick more often. Going forward we are going to try and figure out more breaks and rest for us in the midst of it all, because we need to take care of ourselves in order to care for them.

A Challenging Week

Although each week has challenges this one was especially difficult. My mother and I made an agreement to not complain during the month of January. So I’ll just “state” what went on this past week…

Last week on my husband’s and my anniversary my mother-in-law woke up with extreme pain in her left leg and had trouble walking. We called her Neurologist and got her an appointment. She had been undergoing tests all month and they had the results back…so we were able to get her leg checked out and get test results in one appointment. The tests confirmed that she has early stage Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s. We then had to take her to urgent care for her leg. After that we to go get an ultra sound done on her leg. (My husband would often whisper, “Happy Anniversary” during all this and remind me that someday we’ll have a “do-over.”). Nothing showed up in the ultra sound and a couple days later her leg thankfully stopped hurting.

My grandparents continue to decline. My grandfather’s Dementia has always been slow moving, meaning the changes have come on slowly over time. My grandmother’s recent strokes have caused all sorts of issues. It has been sad to see the rapid decline in her. It appears she had another stroke yesterday. Two nurses just came over and did an assessment and called the doctor requesting an Hospice order.

Meanwhile in the midst of all this, I got food poisoning and spent a good deal of time hanging out with the “porcelain throne.” My husband had to take over my caregiving duties and also care for me. He is such an amazing man! He also appreciates me and what I do more now that he had to do it for two days.

Now that I am feeling better, I was able to spend time with my grandmother today…

gigilaughing
My husband took this picture today of my grandmother and I…I can still make her laugh!

Our Unique Christmas

Our Christmas felt very surreal and like an alternative reality…which it was as we were experiencing Christmas through others’ Dementia.

The following is from an excellent blog:

“Reality isn’t as important as connection….I am pleasantly surprised at how people can connect in a positive way despite not sharing a perception of their relationship and the world around them. I could write pages of transcripts of conversations that would make no sense to outsiders. The sense comes from those of us who choose to connect with people with dementia rather than correct them. I’ve noticed that ironically sometimes those with dementia are choosing to do their same in their interactions with us. Sometimes reality isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. We can see the world differently and still connect…I think there’s a lesson there in this age of America.” From: Dementialand

It is all about connection!

merrychristmas
My husband and I with my mother-in-law (age 80), my grandmother (age 104), my mother (age 75), and my grandfather (age 99).