Hi everyone - my first visit although I already feel like a Pro (Professional that is)!
I lost Dad 18 months ago after he had suffered a form of alzheimers and over the last 9 months his sister has started to follow the same pattern. As I am her only relative I have had to take responsibility for her care although I am extremely fortunate that my aunt has wonderful friends and I feel like I have known them all for years already. We live at a distance - over an hours drive on a good day - but before she deteriorated too much we did establish that she definately did not want to move nearer as she preferred staying local to her friends. We have suspicions that she knew she had a problem but she has always been fiercely independent and from experience I remember Dad was very good at covering especially in the early stages. The main difference in my aunts condition is that it appears to be staged - multi infarct ? - whereas Dad seemed to decline more steadily.
Following a recent and serious decline that resulted in a hospital stay her specialist advised that she should not be allowed to return home on her own and she has now moved into a Residential home. However none of us has been brave or heartless enough to tell her that she will not be going home. We have continued to offer the carrot of "getting better and well enough for the Doc to say you can go home".
Should we now ? And if so, how? What do we say?
We managed to put in place an EPA a long time ago so day to day management of her affairs has not caused a problem. She is also very fortunate that she has sufficient funds to pay for the home without having had to sell her house but we will have to face up to it soon purely from a practical sense.
Her physical health has improved greatly over the past month while in care but she was very tearful and was trying to ask where/why questions when I visited at the weekend. She has terrible difficulties with speech - something that started 4 years ago when she lost her husband. This constantly masks the other problems perhaps making them seem worse and makes me question whether we have done the right thing. Her friends all support me and I guess I know she couldn't possibly cope at home but I keep thinking "what if I were stuck somewhere I didn't want to be and couldn't make people understand I was OK?".
extra note: whilst temporarily losing this input I drifted in and out of some other postings and they have made me realise just how many symptoms my aunt has already displayed. Thank you Bruce for your diary entries - they brought back so many of the experiences we had with Dad, sundowning especially - walking down a country lane at 3.30am in the winter with him trying desperately to change the subject etc! How selective our memory is when it tries to heal after all the heartache.