I don't think that I will go there anymore

gandle(4 NE)January 26, 2012

The semi-invalid neighbor lady that lived next door to us for almost 40 years was moved to an assisted living home about a year ago. George and I helped her after her husband died, he always mowed her lawn and kept the sidewalks cleared of snow. He even had to climb a ladder in the middle of winter to a second floor bathroom when she fell and we had to help her.

I've been going to see her weekly taking magazines or some baked items or flowers in season. The last two visits she didn't turn the TV down so we could talk and she finally said did you know my mother died last week and they wouldn't let me go to the funeral. Her mother died almost 20 years ago. She went on to say that Johnny, her husband was there this morning and was going to take her home tomorrow. Johnny died probably 8 years ago and I am not sure she knew who I was.

You hate to abandon someone like that but I'm not sure that my visit didn't upset her more than sitting there and staring at the TV.

She really didn't make hardly any friends that would come visit her and maybe she is better off just staring at her TV.

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It's bad, isn't it! You just don't know what is the best thing to do. Things can happen to the mind so quickly that it sort of leaves us wondering just what to do or say.

This is the time to talk to some of the staff. You could be right in that the visit upsets. A familiar face is nice to see, but she is probably just as happy to see the familiar staff personel.

Whatever you do, don't try to correct her or get her to see the truth. Just nod and say something vague like "That's nice."

If the TV is very loud, it's a good chance that either her hearing is going bad too, or she is unaware that the sound can be turned down. My aunt forgot that the stations on the TV could be changed. It stayed on the same channel all day long. Problem was that it was not a channel that was in use. She watched the blank screen full of "snow" for hours.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 9:40PM
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Dementia is probably the saddest afliction to descend upon a person. I woudn't wish it on my worst enemy. The long-term memory is the last to go, and if you've known her forty years, she probably does know who you are, or at least shall until she is well advanced. It's a blessing that she is now in a place where there is someone around to protect her. I remember the sacrifices you and George made through her struggles.

However, she may well be dangling from the (real) world by a thread. Any familiar person or activity or item can help her to hold on to that thread a little longer. And even if she didn't know who sent the cupcakes, or brought her flowers, it's important that they appear in her world.

It's very hard on those who are watching a person sink into this hole. Probably as hard as it is on the victim themselves, especially when you finally turn into a stranger whom they don't even know.

I understand how you feel, it hurts actually. But, the failure to observe common courtesy is one of the first things to go, and self-centeredness increases. It's typical and not intentional.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 9:48PM
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You are kind to continue to visit your former neighbor.I'm sure it's hard for you to see her the way she is.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 11:50PM
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tibs(5/6 OH)

Oh my. We are dancing around the edges of dementia with my mother. I wish she would watch tv so she would think about something else besides all the bad stuff that happened in the past and all the stuff she cannot change in the present. Like the other residents' issues. I don't know if they are as obnoxious as she says or if it is just her warped perception.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2012 at 6:31AM
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lindac(Iowa Z 5/4)

Leone....as others have said, continue to visit. I am guessing it's not alzheimers but senile dementia, which can sort of come and go....she can get periods wehre she is better than other times.
Turn down the TV while you are there...."so we can talk"....ask her what she had for lunch, nice today isn't it, bring her some candy etc.
I am currently a Resident Advocate at a nursing home in town....resident meaning I advocate for the residents, not that I live there. I have a list of residents who I visit at least ocne a month. Last week I met for my first visit with a man whom I have known for about 50 years, but not seen in easily 3 years and not been in a social situation for more than 25 years. I walked into the central room and he locked eyes with me and greeted me and said "What are you doing here"....but no way could he have said my name nor how he knew me.
She is aware of your visits, no need to stay long if she's not with it, but just going gives her a root in the real world.....and if you could take her for a ride, that would be wonderful!!
Blessings to you for what you do.
Linda c

    Bookmark   January 27, 2012 at 12:20PM
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After a serie of strokes my mother did not know me anymore nor my brother who visited her at least once a week since my father died 15 years earlier. She remembered very well everything before the age of 26 but lost her memory of everything somewhen between her marriage and my birth. My brother still visited every weekend after she entered a nursing home and she finally told the staff she did not want to see the guy who always wanted to talk to her, he talked about people she did not know and did not want to know.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2012 at 7:35PM
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I have a different perspective...

It is painful for the visitor when the resident is lost, and who is served with that?

They don't know from days or weeks, have no clue how often you are there, they can't converse, might even be paranoid about a visitor, disrupted, and uncooperative if pushed to visit. And you just never know - I once walked up to a neighbor, mother of kids I had attended school with, in the same center where my husbands mother is, and spoke to her, calling her by name, and asking how she was. She screamed and tried to jump out of her chair at me.

So if its not family where you have family responsibility, don't go. You both have full plates, you've gone more than the second mile already, and you don't need to do anything that is a net negative for you at this time.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2012 at 8:57PM
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