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Memory Loss and Death of a Loved One

Monday, March 17, 2014

My Uncle died quietly in his sleep Wednesday/ Thursday. He was a quiet man with a good sense of humor, and always a twinkle in his eyes. I knew his health was not great, but am surprised to find him gone. He will be missed.

My Mom, has vascular dementia. She has been asking to go and visit him and Aunt Muriel. Because she has a fractured pelvis we have told her that we would wait until spring time to visit. Hopefully, pain would be less for her and her walking improved.

So, yesterday we went to visit her and tell her about my uncle's death. We told her simply what had happened. It seems like the right thing to tell her the truth when she has been talking about her brother. Just not sure if it was the best.

My Dad died about 1 1/2 ago. Something, that until a couple of months ago she remembered. Yesterday, she asked where he was. When I told her he died over a year ago due to lung cancer. She replied that she had been wondering where he was but remembered the lung cancer.

So, although it seemed like the right thing to tell her. I wonder if telling someone who can't clearly retain facts is the right thing. Did I just add more grief and confusion to her life? How do you help someone with memory loss deal with death?

If, my Mom had completely regressed to her childhood. I wouldn't have told her. Why have her grieve for someone she doesn't remember? But, she has been talking about my uncle. So hard to know what the right choice is.

Memory is such a funny thing. She knows that my name is Julie. But she doesn't remember that I am her daughter. She thinks that I am her granddaughter and that my children her actually her children. Makes sort of a sense, if you were sleeping and dreaming. I guess it's sort of like having a waking dream.

In her reality, she is too young to have a child my age, but knows that I am a relative. She knows she can call me anytime, and manages to do so although she can't dial the numbers on a phone anymore.

I am rambling so will sign off.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SCOTMAMA 3/21/2014 9:36PM

    It is a hard thing to know what to do, as so many things are. I'm certainly not an expert and haven't even had to deal with that many situations along that line, but one thing I do know came to mind as I read your blog. Dementia/alzheimers is when you lose your present day memory for periods of time. The periods of time when you are "normal" or remember most of your life, become less and less frequent, until you reach the point where you don't know anyone around you. But if asked about something 50 or 60 years ago, you may remember it. The closer you are to present day time, the more likely you won't remember.

Yes, it couldn't hurt much one way or the other than you told her. After all, she had brought up his name just recently. But as he is part of her long-ago memory, changes are she will ask again, not remembering his death, just like with her husband.

It is very difficult to know what best when in a situation like that, and I think it is great that you get to visit her often. Just be patient.

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FRAN0426 3/17/2014 8:34PM

    So sorry for the loss of your uncle. I think telling you mother was the right thing to do. She may remember, as well as she may forget what you told her that her brother passed. It would be worse to tell her the news this spring when she may remember that she was to go visit him, if she is able.

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ROSE_626 3/17/2014 8:37AM

    emoticon I understand. My mom had dementia and I too struggled with what things I should tell her. All one can do is follow our instincts and pray that we are doing the right thing. My father died 10 months before she did, and she had moments of clarity when she would say how she missed him, and a few moments later she would ask if he was back from work. It is very difficult and I'm sure you're doing the best you can.
emoticon emoticon

I'm so sorry for your loss. emoticon

Comment edited on: 3/17/2014 8:38:19 AM

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Insomniac Special

Friday, November 15, 2013

Not such a good week as far as sleeping has been. I am only getting about 3 hours a night. Not much, I can do about it. Nothing really seems to work long term. So, I try to be positive about it. This morning, I was up early, so I let the dog out early, ran a load of laundry, and had extra time on spark people. Hopefully, will have time for a longer morning walk.

I guess it's because the stress level is higher this week at home and work. At work we are heading in to physical inventory time, so I'm trying to clean reports and such up, to minimize the work next week.

At home, my Mom has carpal tunnel. Her rheumatoid arthritis that had been in remission doesn't seem to be this week. She has called me, most nights complaining of pain. I think her doctor is doing everything he can. She has prednasone and they just started her on methotrexate. She already has some pain meds. While I am glad they are doing everything they can. The methotrexate is not something to mess around with. I wonder how good it is for someone with progessive vascular dementia.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SKATER787 1/5/2014 1:12AM

    I used to have trouble falling asleep unless I exercised really good. This has been a lifelong problem. The last several months I discovered Melatonin and later on L-Tryptophan. I take them both and it has been working great. One night a week, I don't use Melatonin as I read that your pineal gland needs to do some work too. But Tryptophan I can take every night. I use 1000 mg for Tryp and 5 mg time-released for Melatonin. Hope this gives you some idea. Good luck.

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LOVELESMILLS 11/15/2013 6:41AM

  Try yoga.

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Sleep Journal 1

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

I've decided to start a sleep journal, to try and track what is happening. Also, not so good at communicating.

I fell asleep in five minutes. Slept for 3 hrs 50 minutes. Woke 8 times during the night and was up and 3:30am. I hour before I need to wake. Last food was at about 8:30pm. 1/2 whole pita w/ 1/2 slice cheese. 2 glasses of red wine.

My sleep med was Nyquil, as it helps with allergies and sinus pain. I used to take a sedative. But, found I don't really sleep better with the pills. Going without, in fact resulted in better sleep the last week or so. Unfortunately, this week isn't going so well. Seems like any change will help for 1-2 weeks.

Exercise: 1 walk in AM ( a little daylight). 2nd walk in evening in the pitch dark. Sure missed the sunlight. Tried to focus on the beautiful starry night. Someone had Christmas lights already. Could hear bats. Not another soul walking their dog.

Feeling tired, small sinus headache, itchy eyes. Not looking forward to today as it is Tuesday. I go visit my Mom, and it will be a long day. I find visiting my Mom stressful. It is so hard to watch her deteriorate. This week, I begin bringing her laundry home with me. She can't manage to unload the dryer and turn off the alarm.

I also need to take out money from her bank account and put into her investment account, where the money will be safe and earn more for her. I understand this is what is best for her. It's what she would have done before the dementia. It's just that I will need to do it without her permission. She used to play the stock market as a hobby. She did pretty darn well too. Such big shoes to fill, don't know that I am qualified. Oh well, I will ask for help as needed.



Monday, October 28, 2013

So, tired. It is 3am and I have had 2.5 hours of sleep. That's it for the day. Ugh, welcome to Monday. I've been doing better, sleeping longer. I slept an entire 7 hours on Sunday. I honestly don't remember the last time I slept that well. Then, it's followed be 2.5 hours. Kind of feels like no progress.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SKATER787 10/30/2013 10:30PM

    That used to be my lifelong problem until I discovered Melatonin last year. Now I also take 2 capsules of Tryptophan. Together they are a marvelous combo. No more insomnia for me. Good luck.

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    I also have bouts of insomnia. Normally it's because of latent fears that hit in the still of the night.

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ROSIESNOW 10/28/2013 5:29AM

    Yep, I woke at 3am too. Not fun. Makes for a long day, and I get irritable when I'm sleep deprived. Hope you have a good day despite it...

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ROSINVN 10/28/2013 4:23AM

    Hi Juliette I sympathise, I am aslo struggling with the sleep thing. It seems like one night I get the 7 hours then the next few nights its up at 3 am. I try not to stress about it but I am sure it is affecting my weight loss. anyway hugs emoticon

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GHOSTFLAMES 10/28/2013 4:07AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Building a Healthy Life

Friday, October 25, 2013

Well, it kind of feels like starting over. Since I am down only about 10 pounds since I started SP. But, without SP I don't know that I would have made it through this last year. It was a year, August 25th that my Dad died (day after my birthday). Mom has vascular dementia that is getting worse. It is heart breaking to watch her.

So, what have I accomplished this year? That is what I keep asking myself. Well, having insomnia/ depression means that I am tired all the time. So, I have begun to prioritize what is important to me. Curiously, enough, exercise tops my list of thing I need to do. Since, I am always tired, I find it difficult to exercise on a set schedule (i.e. 3xs/ week). I have found that walking every morning & night works the best. No days off. If I waited to exercise until I wasn't tired I would never do it. So, I walk. It's something I really enjoy. I adopted a Toy Fox Terrier, so I now have a walking companion.

My basic diet is healthy. But, I snack in the afternoons when I am getting tired. Essentially, eating to stay awake. I am working on trading the unhealthy snacks for healthy snacks. I am not getting my 5 day. So, fruit is the easiest thing.

Also, the med they gave me to help me sleep, really doesn't seem to be helping anymore. So, I stopped taking it. The funny thing I have found is that I am getting better quality sleep. I am not so restless during the night. I still wake up early most days. But when I do, I get up and take the dog for a walk. It's nice to not be the only one awake that early in the morning.

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