Dementia Woes: Stirring the Brew & Buttinsky’s

It is clear enough by now that everyday is an adventure in mental stability with my aunt. It is particularly frustrating after she receives a visit from a sister that lives to the South. Every time, post visit, my aunt is highly agitated, paranoid and fearful all her possessions are disappearing at the house. 

This is difficult to address. When I have gone straight at the assumed source for this consternation, the sister and her daughter in law, I am rebuffed and attacked. Yet, my demented aunt, puts forth a story entirely different. Of course, how do you believe the aunt that is demented and holds conversations with the dead. Yet, something about these visits stirs up paranoia…perhaps a hold over from the past years of paranoid discussions. There is that familial personality flaw that every one is out to get them and there stuff and there is the ‘buttinsky’ sense of entitlement too.

Lord Have Mercy....The Damn Wig

So, agitated she was. Shaking and angry over not knowing what to do about all her stuff. Accusatory over who was I letting steal all her stuff. Wanting to go home. And, ‘probably I will just leave every thing to my sister.’ Whatever!

Drawn, face scrunched it was also obvious she was in pain (her neck). We administered some pain meds and I didn’t bother to discuss, correct, remind. I just listened and watched her. The wig, a taunting reminder of the intrusive earlier visit. 

I commented on the red scarf (in picture) as I assumed it was a gift from the visitors. “Oh no, I have had that for years! I paid .50 for it at a garage sale.” 🙂

Hours later, I call the care giver and check on my aunt’s mental state. She advises that my aunt is slightly better as the pain meds had kicked in and dose of good ju ju (anti-psychotic meds) was administered also.

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“Although the stages provide a blueprint for the progression of Alzheimer’s symptoms, not everyone advances through the stages similarly. Caregivers report that their loved ones sometimes seem to be in two or more stages at once, and the rate at which people advance through the stages is highly individual. Still, the stages help us understand Alzheimer’s symptoms and prepare for their accompanying challenges.” 7 Stages of Alzheimer’s 

This whole dementia process is a new path for me. My father in law suffered a mild stroke a few years ago and has had partial cognitive recovery. My dad died of a stroke and I didn’t have to contend with  his mental decline. My mom died of cancer and was pretty sharp until the end, when she retreated within during the final stages of dying. This deal with my aunt is a roller coaster ride and the more one reads, the more confusing it gets. Nothing quite fits and that is the point. It is a unique ride for each person with dementia with ‘stages’ only generally providing clarity. 

The home visiting medical team tending to my aunt seem to have a more cynical (blunt) view of my aunt’s status. They are weening her off all unnecessary meds and supplements and going for comfort and stability. Tending to pain is important to them to remove agitation factors beyond her psychosis. The medical team feels this process will take a pronounced turn and evolve into a hospice status any time. When I watch my aunt chattering and laughing I doubt that. When I think how rapidly my mom declined once a few changes in her took place I am reminded it can slide downhill in a hurry. 

My aunt asked her sister to bring her more wigs next visit. As my mom use to exclaim when surmising some annoying event…”shit Martha” (I have no idea who Martha was).

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