Saturday, May 23, 2020

Frontal temporal Dementia

Do you want to know the funny thing about all of this? At the time of that mega meltdown, I was the activities director of an Adult Day Center, that specialized in Alzheimer’s and Dementia care, for 13 years I worked in that setting, currently, I'm the Life Enrichment Coordinator for an upscale senior community in San Diego, CA. My younger sister was a caregiver to a gentleman that had a Parkinson’s diagnosis, she is a private duty CNA with 10 years experience. My middle sister was also a CNA certified on behavioral challenges in patients with Memory Impairments. After just two years of being certified, she decided that working with people with Alzheimer's And Dementia was not for her.

One would think that with all of this collective knowledge, we would have been prepared to deal with what was coming. Sorry to disappoint, NO we were not. Want to know why? Because she is our mom. "This happens to other families, not us, we know better". Yeah right! This had been quite a double whammy for the three of us, completely blindsided us. Aww, denial, denial, pure denial!

Do you want to know where the double whammy comes in?
Our grandfather, our mom’s father, was diagnosed with dementia and passed away from complications because of it. My mom took care of him until the end of his life. I remember that at my grandfather’s funeral my uncles, his sons were not allowed. As they had left my mom to handle, to deal with, and pick up all the pieces of my broken grandfather, at a time when it was considered “normal senility”. Out of his 3 sons and three daughters, my mom was my grandfather’s champion! The man that had been a force of nature, a man that with, one look could communicate to you exactly what he had on his mind. The man that became a shell, a shadow of what he had been. We loved our abuelo.

Why do I share this story with you? Because I want you to know that you are NOT alone. What I want you to take away from this blog is, I seek to educate, suggest, guide, and provide you with support and comfort in knowing that you are not the only one on this path of being a caregiver to a person with a diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease, Dementia or the new normal “Memory Impairment”.

Together we will navigate various topics, such as bedtime routines, meal preparation, sundowning, building routines, bathtime, keeping busy, successful communication with your loved one. How to communicate with the primary physician. The difference between a Neurologist and a Geriatric Psychologist, and when one or the other is needed. Anything that you would like to know, we will explore. I invite you to send questions, comments or you can just vent. It's not an easy road, it's full of bumps along the way. We will travel it together.

Until next time - Be safe, be patient, if you need to hit something go ahead, Get yourself some cardboard boxes and go for it. Don’t forget to breathe….deeply! Sending you virtual hugs~ A.

I leave you with this link, because educating ourselves is the key to understanding.