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A life changed by dementia

Saturday, June 29, 2013

My aunt was diagnosed with dementia two and a half years ago. But before that I was traveling at least three times a week up to her home after work to check on her. She lived an hour away from me. When I was checking in on her, I found out that she wasn’t eating, paying her bills or other things. I have cousins who live 10 minutes away from her, but they were always too busy to do anything; though they said they were checking. So I would drive up after work and take care of anything that needed to be done. There were days I would drive up there for nothing, just to take her to the drug store. Most of the times we out to dinner to make sure she was eating, because she wasn't. My aunt never married so she did not have children. She is also my Godmother.

During that time, I had to take time away from work to get her into her new apartment and take her to appointments. Due to that, I had ended up losing my full time job. In some ways it was good because it gave me the time to take care of my aunt’s needs. After getting into an assisted living place, I get a nasty phone call from my cousin yelling at me telling me that I moved her too fast. I did what I had to do!! (I was going to have my cousin by the POA with me, but when we went, the one person wouldn’t do it. She said she couldn’t. The next week they were going away for 10 days and I was not going to wait so I had my brother do it. They were mad about that too.)

I ended up keeping my aunt’s apartment until the least was up because the place was known to rent it out even while charging for breaking the lease. I figured it would give me more than enough time to clean out the apartment. Unfortunately, my aunt would be what you might consider a collector/hoarder. She had well over 1000 books. I started packing and packing and packing. Where were my cousins? Nowhere to be found!!!

Eventually, I got everything out and into three large storage units. My plan is to have a few yard sales one day. First I have to go through everything that is in them, sort and price. I will get it done. Again, I am doing it all alone.
So, my aunt is in an assisted living environment. I went over today to get her laundry because they would charge more to do it, and she forgot how to do it. I get there and found out she has been wetting the bed. Not what I wanted to find out. I had to go through the closet to get the dirty clothes; she just hangs them back up.

When I was younger and I wanted to get away from it all, I would go and spend time with her. We would go all over the place. We would drive to Vermont and go antiquing, shopping, lunch. It is so hard seeing her like this.

I was going to look for a full time job but have realized that I cannot. I have to be available to take care of her needs whether they are laundry or doctor appointments. I also have to be available to my mother and stepfather. I am not sure if this is what God had planned for me or not, but it is what I have to do right now.



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  • JERSEYGIRL24
    I realize you wrote this a long time ago but I just saw it. First of all, you will be given a special place in heaven for what you have done for your aunt.

    This situation sounds a lot like mine with my mother. My father passed away from Alzheimer's last year. My mother moved him out of the house about 17 months before his death. First to one place and then to another. Very tough, and I know she felt guilty about it, but he had really become impossible to care for.

    Regretfully I think my mother (age 85) has some form of dementia, too. Not Alzheimer's, but something. She moved in August, and boy can I relate to the hoarding. Hundreds of empty pill containers, many empty plastic containers from cold cuts (why didn't she recycle them?), useless plastic key chains, etc. She moved from her house of 58 years to an apartment near me, which actually makes things easier. My only sibling lives in California, and he has become increasingly indifferent toward my mother's situation. After she sold her house, she had no place to go, and if it wasn't for me and my husband, she wouldn't have found one. Fortunately, my brother will not complain about what we do, but like I said, he has become increasing indifferent toward the situation.

    It sure isn't easy. My thoughts will be with you.
    2205 days ago
  • ROCKPORT9
    You are a blessing! Hugs, Laurel, Starfish emoticon
    2245 days ago
  • CAPECODBABE
    I know how hard it can be, watching someone go downhill.

    When my father started to get sicker, my sister lived in London and my brother in Germany and me, 30 minutes away. Sometimes I just didn't want to make the drive to pick up groceries or a prescription, but I'm glad I did.

    I have no regrets, and I bet you won't either.

    You are your aunts angel.
    2350 days ago
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