Sunday, January 29, 2012

Two steps forward and 20 steps back

The forward steps were Meals on Wheels, and getting Mum's hair cut and washed after years!  She looked like her old self (which of course she is not, but I enjoyed that for the day).   The back slide, after that false dawn, is that she's now confusing night and day - thought 6.30pm was 6.30am when I rang yesterday and was in bed.  Its the last "straw" for me supporting her staying at home by herself - my sister and I are now shifting gear into finding a residential facility to move her to. Heaven only knows what bumps and skids in the road that will throw up, but I am now determined (with my heart in my mouth).

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Food Victory

I had such a food victory with Mum yesterday.

For some weeks I have been monitoring her buying and eating food - noticing she's been buying and eating less dinners (more cereal, breakfast and lunch type foods - and more lollies!) and shopping for food only when its run right out.  Also substituting corner store small purchases for a proper supermarket shop.  Sometimes.  Because, of course, the course of true Alzheimer's is never a straight line!

So consequently I have been giving a lot of thought to what will be the best solution to this emerging puzzle.  I've done some background investigating and decided Meals On Wheels will be the best substitute to this diminishing capacity to feed herself.  It will also provide her with some much needed social contact as they call and deliver, and provide someone else to "visit and check" besides me! When the time is "right".

I was aware on the weekend the supplies were getting very low, so started calling about how much she had left and what she was going to eat each day. On Monday we had torrential rain - which was stopping her going out to shop as well.  That night I was plagued by the need to take action.  I investigated online shopping, even when my tired brain could hardly stand all the fiddling entries! But by Tuesday morning (after sleeping badly again) I'd decided it was time to engage Meals on Wheels.  They're so friendly and understanding too.  So I ordered it on her behalf and they can start the very next day!  Done.  Told her - somehow she accepted it - after all it was still to wet to go out!  Thank you rain!!! So from now on they'll deliver at least one proper meal every day Monday to Friday - shopping won't matter so much, and one less thing for me to monitor and worry over.

Sometimes its all about timing - things slip into place when some feasible excuse comes up and Mum accepts it.  I'm often waiting for opportunity to knock.

Now all I have to do is get the mongrel "homecare service" happening. Its up to official complaint level now.  But I can't bear to go into those details.

Thinking of victories only at the moment!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Detour - there's a funny road ahead (as the song says!)

As I waited for the first "in home cleaning service" to start (all day - to no avail, again - but that's another story!) at Mum's place today, I asked her to give me the Enduring Power of Attorney she'd made out for me years ago, as I thought I may need the original sometime soon (some places accepting a photocopy, and other places not).  I felt a bit ....something......apologetic almost - because I thought she might balk at the idea that she can't make her own decisions.  But no, that wasn't an issue - the issue for her was she had no idea what it was and absolutely no memory of having done it when I reminded her.  What could be a better indication of the need for me to obtain it?  She was in fact very co-operative, and we searched together in several possible locations - she only remembered one of them!  We found a very formal looking document headed Advance Health Directive - I flipped through it and saw the words EPOA in it, so took it with me.  Of course, when I got it home and went through it thoroughly, it was NOT the EPOA - I say of course because EVERYTHING on this journey is complicated. Nothing straightforward.  Its a journey of detours and detours and detours, such that if I don't actually list the things I have achieved I begin to feel I've achieved nothing except going in circles!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Phone Call To Lala Land

..where Bonnie lives presently.

- I've been upstairs all day today (oh, I wonder what that means)
- No, I haven't noticed the cool breeze - yes the windows are shut in the living room.  You just have to shut them, and open them again, with the changing weather ( I suggest, again, it would be cooler if you open one - when am I going to give up on using logic?)
- Well, I'll have to go shopping tomorrow, I haven't anymore bread - its a bit hard without bread
- What will  you eat tonight?
- Oh I have some vegetables - (lists food - protein has not featured for a while now except the dairy kind - milk and yoghurt - and the many lollies she enjoys and will shop for.)  (I foolishly suggest less lollies, again - muttering about diabetes...)
- I can see in the mirror how wide I am getting. (And tells me exactly which of the 4 or 5 different kinds of lollies she eats when)  Maybe you'll need some new clothes then.  Oh I have another dress - I'm not worried about that. (Someone else will have to start worrying about it soon then)
- Are you finding it difficult to get to the shops? (She does not answer directly but i wonder if she might be and think about introducing the idea of someone taking her shopping, sooner rather than later)
- I've been listening to Tchaikovsky - lovely music (oh good, music still works)
-Saw a program on TV about miners  (she's remembering how to work the new TV then - another tick)
- Yes, I got the milk alright on Friday - i got up at 1 o'clock (morning) and it was there, so I just brought it in and it was still cold (Oh, good,  I say - i've stopped introducing logic to this topic!)

Am I getting better at speaking lala?  I'm a slow learner i think.
But she's happy - and I'm very glad of that today.

Its like having a conversation on 3 levels - listening, responding, decoding, making mental notes for my plans.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Coming Out of the Fog

Dear blogger-sphere,

Somehow the fog is clearing somewhat, I say hesitantly.  Had a break from all the "must-dos" by being on leave from work for a few weeks, getting several things done and garnering support and some action from other relies.  There seems to be a tension in me between wanting to rush in and "fix everything", not really being able to do this because each step is quite hard emotionally and usually intricate, and so having to do it all a bit at a time but live in the presence of the mountain of stuff yet to do! Tomorrow begins someone cleaning the house - a huge issue for Mum who's never wanted strangers coming into the house, but I cannot wait for it to be clean after years of tolerating increasing dirtiness.  Not done yet, of course!  Would love to move onto cleaning her up - especially her hair (now long, and long unwashed)- that of course will not be simple.

It has helped becoming more informed about stages of alzheimers and what the disease does to brains - at least I can see something of what's ahead and how to plan, not feel constantly lost and confused about what to do.  I predict, based on the latest info, that we'll have about a year of her being in her own home before she needs to move to supported accommodation, but that of course I could be totally out.  After all I can pinpoint stage 4, or "mild alzheimers", but don't know how far along she is, and everybody's different!  For now though the plan is to put in as much community support as we can and see how long that maintains her at home.  Courage!