Thursday Thoughts

I have been helping an old friend moving to a home for elderly and disabled people. Yesterday I helped her packing up the last things and putting everything into place. We went through all her paintings as well, to see how many she could use on the new walls and where to put them up. And the rest…I do not know…

She has been diagnosed with Alzheimers. Once she was so smart, sharp tounge and vivid mind and memory. She was even a candidate for a TV prize contest. These last three years…she has been losing everything…and now she can no longer manage on her own. She was also a famous dog breeder for 30 years and won international as well as national fame. Her last dog she could no longer take enough care of, so two weeks ago we went together to the veterinary to put him to sleep. Tough on her and tough on me.

This is so sad, the whole situation. So many people suffer from this disastrous disease. And my old friend has no family, no children – only a half brother. And they have not got along the last 20 years.

She has nobody – but me. Luckily, the last two years she has found a good friend in a new neighbour coming over with some food and cookies – and sometimes some company. I am so glad she is there, as I live 60 kilometres away and cannot visit every day.

When I came up the stairs, she met me with a weak smile – ”I don’t like it here, they are all numb and dumb…cannot speak or understand what I’m saying”. She moved in two weeks ago, after we had been working hard to get her this apartment as she was so alone and needed company in order to eat properly and function socially. She had help four times a day and got food and cleaning as well.

”They are not kind to me here”, she says. ”I want to move.”

We have known each other for 40 years. Now I am searching for my old friend behind those gentle eyes…but I’m afraid she might no longer be there.

 

 

 

48 comments on “Thursday Thoughts

  1. Very sorry to read this about your friend Ann-Christine, she has a good friend in you and at a time she most needs one. Amazing how some people seem to come out of the woodwork, when where were they all those other years. How sad and difficult about her dog too. I’m sure the adjustment to her new surroundings is unsettling for her, in time it will hopefully become her home or at least she will get used to the people, staff and other residents.

    My mother is suffering from dementia for the last couple of years and with each day it progresses. It’s been difficult living 1,700 miles away and one of these days she is not going to recognize my voice – I understand, but will still hit hard I’m sure.

    Dementia, ALZ are devastating diseases for the individual and their family and friends. It’s a long and slow goodbye ~ although today I had a good laugh with my Mother and it felt like old times. I’ll take those days anytime.

    Your friend is very lucky to have you in her life ~ she is blessed.

    • Thank you for sharing your experiences in this. I’m sorry you live so far away from your mother – then I should not complain livin only 2 hours away from my friend. I talked to Amanda from silkannthreads, and she had some great tips about what i can do. One of them was skype. If someone helps my friend, she might be able to hear my voice and see me more often. Do you use skype with you mother?

  2. It’s such a tough situation Ann Christine. Hard on your friend and hard on you. I don’t know at what stage of dementia your friend is but there are many strategies which can help with communication and well being. I have found lots of useful information on the internet and in specialty magazines. My parents only have mild dementia, but they still have a good quality of life. As long as your friend doesn’t become violent (usually it is out of frustration!!) you have every hope of helping her to have the best possible life. I am happy to talk to you about my limited experience if you want to Skype or use Facebook messenger.

  3. What a beautiful and vibrant person your friend was Leya and you are such a good friend to stand by her and be her strength during this difficult time. If only some cure could be found for these terrifying and debilitating diseases Have you tried playing music to her when you visit? We had a friend in similar circumstances a few years ago and he seemed to love listening to the old time musicals.

  4. This is so sad and painful to read. It sounds like your friend is a shadow of her former self… then again sounds like she is moving into a new chapter in her life. But, I do see in her that she wants to be happy, to be around people that she likes – that she still has that zest for life. Best wishes to her, and you are so kind to help her out❤

  5. Sigh, wish there is a cure for Alzheimer’s. My 87 year old godmother who recently passed away, had Alzheimer’s for many years. The last time I saw her was Feb 2015 and she couldn’t recognize me because her memory of me was a little girl. So she kept mistaking me for my older sister. It’s sad and frustrating.

    • I also wish for a cure. Loosing your self and personality – and being aware of it – must be among the most frustrating things to experience.

  6. What a sad disease this is!!! I have a friend here, and her mum got it. The last sentence you wrote here, in your post, I recognize so well, because that’s what she says about her mum. They came here from another country, 1958, and her mother has now totally lost her English, but can still remember a few words of her native tongue.

  7. Ann Christine, this is so sad. Losing your mind in this sense is so terrible, for everyone. Today was a bad day here as well. The husband of our assistant manager died of a heart attack last night. He was 39 and leaves behind his wife and two daughter, the latter 20 and 12!

    janet

  8. Very sad, but I am glad your friend is in a place where they care for these people. You will still always be her best friend. Just the idea that there is someone who can just give her a hug is good. You are a very good person to care for her like this.

    • Ineke, sometimes I do not feel that good a person. Sometimes I do not want to visit…that happens when she has been crying all through my visit and there seem to be no way of cheering her up. Seldom, but still. I get depressed. I always visit anyway and usually I manage to reach her.

      • I know how you feel because I am the same. I hate to visit someone like that but then You are the only one who gives her a bit of love and affection. I also get very depressed when I see someone near me like this and you can do nothing about the situation. The ting is also, they don’t remember that you visited them and will keep on asking why you did not come.

      • I know…she forgets immediately. Sometimes the disease makes them angry and aggressive as well. I hope that will not come…

  9. Oh this is so heart rending to read, Ann Christine. I’m sorry your friend has succumbed to this dreadful disease. I know how helpless you must feel, as my darling mom was suffering from dementia for the last two years of her life. Bless you for doing what you can to help this dear woman. None of us knows what the future holds for us. xx

    • None of us know…no, that is true. And this afternoon I had a phone call…I had dreaded that all along…Someone claiming to be her cousin. In fact I have never heard her name before…and she spoke not so nice things about my friend…how she was mean and stubborn…and so on. Using a very bad language too. I suffered a minor shock I think. then she wanted her phone number, but I told her off with the fact that my friend has had the same number for more than 20 years – which says something about the ”cousin” and how much she really cared. It might sound bad (maybe I am a bad person?) , but coming here in this stage of a persons life – she sounds to me a vulture.
      I feel so devastated on behalf of mankind.

      • Oh my! I think you’re quite right to be suspicious of this so called ‘cousin’ suddenly popping out of the woodwork. You are anything but a ‘bad person’ my friend. Your friend needs protecting from this vulture woman who has nothing good to say about her. I hope you can manage this. It must be so stressful for you though. *hugs*

      • Sylvia, I am very grateful for your thoughts and answer. I really do not like this. In fact I have called some people…where my friends lives too. Keep our eyes open, and not to let this woman be alone with my friend if she comes visiting. Thank you for the hug – needed it.

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