Very Sad And Difficult Condition
My sister in law has mild cognitive deficiency, a form of dementia or Alzheimer's disease. It is getting worse. She is still able to live by herself and will not hear tell of coming to live with us or even of moving house to live in the same village as us, although she could afford to do so, with no problem. It is so sad when those around her can see big problems but she will not or cannot recognise them, nor that she cannot manage them.
The hairdressers were allowed to open here from 6 July 2020 but she could not get an appointment until today 31 July 2020. The appointment was for 10am and the hairdresser asked that someone bring her in. They knew her and in the past, she wandered in and they took her when they could but coronavirus rule changes made that difficult for them. I said I would but I knew that 10am was very early for sis-in-law as normally, she only gets up between 9 and 10 am, as she phones me each day to tell me she has taken her tablets. I asked my sis-in-law to let me change it to a later time but she insisted she would get up on time and that I did not need to come and fetch her. I arranged to meet her in town at 9.30am, as I knew the only bus she could get would get her there at that time.
She knew she was going to the hairdresser and would meet me at 9.30 in town.
I phoned her at 8am to check she was up. The phone woke her and she had no idea why she had to get up! Told me she couldn't possibly make the bus and the hairdresser would just have to take her later. I had to catch the 8.15 train to be in town at the agreed time. I phoned her from town at 9.30 and she was still in the house! She then did not answer the phone and the hairdresser said she had phoned there and told them she couldn't get a bus. I then caught the bus to her house from town to see if she had gone back to bed and got the key from the neighbour to see if she just was not answering the door. At that point, she had arrived at the hairdresser's, so I got the bus back into town. She had been coming to our house every Friday and Monday for the past number of weeks and getting her shopping in our area. I waited for her hair appointment to finish and then asked her to come back to my house for her dinner and said that she would get a lift home. No, she wouldn't go, didn't want a lift home, didn't need any shopping and she never bought her stuff where I lived anyway! She was very grumpy.
Over Six Hours
The whole fiasco took 6 hours out of my day and she was very grumpy and rude. Yet I cannot blame her, dementia takes away a lot of self awareness. It is a very cruel disease.
One thing it does not remove, at least in the early stages are the old memories from years ago. When she has been coming down to our house in the past weeks, she has spoken of her childhood and early working life and she and her brother, my husband, have discussed people they knew from back then and you would not know that she had any kind of dementia listening to her. It prompted me to create a book for recording oral history because I want to write down the stories she has told and her memories from the early 50s of the great linen firms in Belfast and other family memories.
Image Credit » https://pixabay.com/illustrations/dementia-alzheimer-s-age-puzzle-3268560/