I have not posted about my mom lately and after my patient care meeting yesterday at the nursing home I couldn't share what was going on with you because it was too raw. I cried during the meeting yesterday and all the way back to school. Most of the rest of the day I spent holed up in my room....cleaning. I clean when I am bothered by something and I rearrange furniture too. The patient care meeting yesterday was not one of the best. My mom is now on pureed food because she has forgotten how to chew or gets tired chewing. They have removed her GPS unit because she is no longer a flight risk. She wears a belt thing so the CNA's can help her stand. She has a special seat cushion in her wheelchair and on her bed and a turning schedule because she has the beginnings of a bed sore. As the Director or nurses, social worker, case worker, et al sat there and listened tears rolled down my cheeks and I could not stop them....especially when they told me that her mental status was that of a two year old. My mom has moved into another stage of dementia. "Late Stages of Dementia - Stage 6-
During stage 6, the patient will have undergone a severe decline including worsened memory loss, personality changes and will need extensive help with daily activities including 24 hour supervision. Hallmarks of this stage include:
lost awareness of most recent experiences and events
unawareness of surroundings
remembers personal history imperfectly or not at all but can usually remember own name
occasionally forget name of spouse or primary care giver but can tell familiar from unfamiliar faces
needs help getting dressed – making errors such as putting pajamas over clothing or shoes on wrong feet
disruption of normal sleep/wake cycle
needs help with toilet use
increasing episodes of incontinence
significant personality changes including suspiciousness, delusions, hallucinations or compulsive behaviors
tendency to wander and become lost
Stage 7 indicates an extreme decline and is considered to be the last stage of dementia as patients lose the ability to respond to environment, speak and move. Most patients who die with dementia will have contracted a condition such as pneumonia because of the inability to move allowing infection to set in. This stage of dementia includes mostly physical decline such as:
lost capacity for recognizable speech
assistance required with eating and toiletry – constant incontinence
lost ability to walk, sit, smile, hold head up
reflexes return to infancy such as the plantar reflex
swallowing is impaired"
My mom is between Stages 6 and 7. My world came crashing down. This was my momma they were talking about. They talked to me about DNR's and DNF's and things I was going to have to start considering....and then asked me if I was part of a Dementia Support group. I am not because I teach...and the only group here meets on Thursdays from 10:00 to 11:30 in the morning. I am teaching then.....so it is a mute point. It would seem to me that with the increasing numbers of family members with dementia related illnesses there would be groups to benefit all hours of the day....but alas there is not and that is sad. If you have friends who are experiencing this....listen to them....sometimes all they need to do is vent. Sometimes all they need to do is be held. Having lost a father to cancer and now a mother suffering from dementia....I would have to say this has been the hardest. I understood cancer....it was an illness...there was a treatment...it might or might not work...you will die. That was pretty straight forward. Dementia....is not like that at all. I have a mother who is in body my mom....but mentally I don't have a clue who she is....and she appears to be healthy....most of the time....and for whatever reason....she isn't. Dementia = confusion on both the part of the person and their family. I hope none of you have to go through this....and if you do....just know I am here and am a pretty good listener, great hugger, and can cry right along with you. Hope you have a Happy Tuesday.
To Joey, With Love....WINNER!
11 months ago