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Mom was diagnosed with Vascular dementia a few months ago. My brother and I took her in for the dementia test because we had noticed some forgetfulness. My sister-in-law had a father who died of Alzheimer’s in 2010 and she encouraged us that if mom was diagnosed early enough a prescribed medicine could prevent her from getting worse. The testing was hard to watch. Mom was asked question after question and then asked to draw a clock. My heart ached for her as she kept looking to me for guidance.
Donepezil is used to treat dementia due to mild, moderate, and severe Alzheimer’s disease. It is not a cure but may help slow down how quickly the symptoms progress. The info on the drug states that the symptoms will progress over time even if you take donepezil. She began this treatment on July 5th. We were hopeful but a month unto the treatment she had some side effects and we had to stop the treatment. We hope to start a new medication soon.
Music Therapy for Dementia
Mom wakes up happy and I have found she loves music, I have read cases where someone with dementia has not uttered a word for years but can sing the lyrics to a song and never miss a word. Music affects so many parts of the brain and it touches areas that may not be damaged by the disease. She hums and whistles a lot.
Activities for People with Dementia
Mom loves the word find books and does them every day. You can find this at Dollar General for $1.00 each. Her routine is to get up early in the morning, make her bed, make coffee, feed the cat, eat breakfast, take a shower, sweep the floor and then she may turn the news on or start doing the word find books. Her cat has been so great for her. He gives her a purpose and she talks about him so much. She loves routine. The next thing I want to do is to let her dig in our small garden. She talks about her and daddy growing tomatoes and I know she misses it. I cannot tell you how many times she tells me one of my plants is in need of black dirt. I have placed plants and bird feeders all over her yard. She loves to sit on the porch and watch the birds. The change of scene and fresh air make her calm and happy. Enjoying nature does wonders for a sad day.
Dementia and Aromatherapy
There have been days where I have found her softly crying. She wants me to take her on road trips, shopping or just sit on the porch with her. This is so difficult and I feel horrible. Studies have found that aromatherapy can help with anxiety and depression. I moved my desk and computer upstairs where I could be close to her. I have been using lavender essential oils for the last few weeks.
My mom is more like a sister than a mom. I am going to do all I can to make her life happy and enjoyable. We took her to the beach a few months ago and she enjoyed it. There are times she does not recall the trip and asks “When are you going to take a vacation?” or “can we go to the beach?” I am learning how to communicate a new way with her. I was saying things like “do you remember?” or “we just went to the beach in May!”
Teepa Snow Dementia
Moments of Sadness
There have been a lot of sad moments. Today mom cried about the loss of her grandparents, parents and she told me that soon she would die as well. Before I changed the subject I told her how much I loved her and how lucky we are. I am blessed beyond words.
My Future Goal
She gets agitated and sad when I leave for work. This has just begun. I find it hard to work at times. She is safe so it is not that I worry about. I compare it to when I left my newborn son at daycare and went to work each day. I felt sadness knowing I missed his first steps or first words. I feel a sadness knowing that I miss a part of her days. It hurts in the deepest part of my heart and stomach. I want to enjoy all of it before it is over. My goal is to retire early and spend my days with her. I pray all the time for a way to do this. I am at the point where I might have to jump and hope the parachute opens! I know it is what I need to do for her and for me.
Annette, as you know, I’ve been through this with my father and now my mother. You are not alone! I love that you’ve started a blog and look forward to walking with you in spirit through your journey. Much love girlfriend…and give your sweet Nona a hug from me! xoxo
Thank you, Debi! I certainly want to do the best I can for mom. She has been the most important person in my life. I want her to be happy and worry-free!
What a wonderful daughter you are, Annette! I think the hardest thing I have ever done in my life was to watch my Mama deteriorate with this horrible disease. I’m sure that you & Terry will do everything that your Mama needs. Thoughts abs prayers are with you and your family.
Terry is incredible. I have the kindest brother in the world. I love mama dearly! We both do! Thank you so much for the prayers and comment!
Beautiful story. I know first hand how hard it is. Each day is different. Praying for all of you.
Thank you, Ramona! Your dad is so wonderful. I think of him often. Thank you for the prayers!
She is so blessed to have you Annette. So many elderly parents are ignored by their kids.
Thank you, Lee! She and I are like sisters and best friends. I have been very blessed.
Annette, your blog is so beautiful, just like you! I know this such a bittersweet time in your life: you are witnessing a decline in your mother’s health while, at the same time, you are able to spend quality time with her. I really admire you for sharing a very difficult situation in your family’s life and helping others who may also have this struggle realize they are not alone.
Thank you Charlene! I appreciate your support. My mom and I have been more like sisters and friends.