My grandpa and Best friend.

BamBam...xxx

Registered User
Jan 11, 2012
4
0
My name is Amber and im 18, about two years ago my grandpa who is also my best friend was diagnosed with Alzheimers.

When he was first diagnosed i was scared to even go see him, but when i manged to talk myself into it, he was the same man proud man as always he just had more of a sense on humour, that lasted about 6 months or so and then he got quite voilent towards my grandma, never towards me of in front of me or my mum but my grandma would tell us when we went to see them,and her naighbour would tell us that she could hear yelling from there house.

I Thought that if i ignored it and pushed it out of my mind he wouldn't change one bit but i couldn't of been more wrong!! I go too his as offten as i can, but last summer was when i noticed the change, he has always been active and me and him would always go out and work in his garden together but he just sat indoors and watched tv. Hes got worse now, i thought he remembered me because im his grand daughter but this christmas just gone i found out that was also wrong, I remind him of someone from his life before he got married we think maybe an ex girl-friend or something he really scared me, and now i know that there is nothing left of the man i knew and loved and i really dont know what to do!

Im scared to see him but im also scared to hurt him or let him down, Im really struggling with it, I miss him so much!

I hate myself for feeling this way but part of me wishes he was dead instead of losing all memorys and being an empty shell of my grandpa!! his sister has it too shes 93 and she just lays in bed all day doing nothing and i know he'd hate that life!!

I just need some help on how to handle this situation, I think i'm already grieving for him and it hurts so much i've never hurt this much
 

FifiMo

Registered User
Feb 10, 2010
4,705
0
Wiltshire
Hello Amber and welcome to TP.

Sorry to read about your grandad's deterioration and how it is affecting you. It is so sad when things like forgetting you happen but have you been back to see him again by any chance? Only reason I ask is that some days are better than others and there are times when he might remember you as his grandaughter. I think the problem is that he is not really forgetting you as being someone who is familiar to him but he is forgetting the right words to use. So he sees you, you look familiar to him, then its oh boy what's her name again, what's her relationship to me..so although he might forget your name you are still close to him, you are familiar to him. One thing that this disease can't take away from either of you is the love that exists between you. Whilst a name might go astray, the energy between you will still be there and that will be of comfort to him. Just being around him and being with him will continue to give him comfort and I am sure that he will pick up, even with the dementia, that you love him and care about him.

My advice to you would be to hang in there, you might find that he has good days when things are better and you get some snapshots of your old grandad shining through. Almost as a reminder that this is all to do with the illness and how it is affecting him and that inside of all that he is still there.

One time when I went to visit my mother she went to shake my hand like i was a stranger. I shook her hand then talked to her about this and that. I didn't mention that she hadn't recognised me, didn't keeping looking for her to acknowledge me, because this would have just stressed her even more and caused her to tense up. We went a whole day practically and it wasn't until she was sitting at the dining table with some of the other people, that all of a sudden she shouted to them, this is my daughter Fiona! I was shocked, because until then like you, I had thought that i had become a distant memory for her.

Please keep in touch with us, you will get a lot of support here and we're good at making suggestions too on how to sort things out at home.

Take care

Fiona
 

Tankette

Registered User
Jan 11, 2012
23
0
London
Hello Amber,

I am new here, and having read your post I decided to join,

My Aunt has vascular dementia, I live/d in the road next to her and have watched her decline over the last 7-8 + years, she was only late 60's

we were very close and used to have lots of fun together,

She became ill and then obsessed and use to bring us (for some reason - we didnt even like!!) coconut and gingernut biscuits everyday as she'd forgotten she'd brought us some the day before, and then it was the phone calls in the middle of the night as she didnt know what the time was, then I was sleeping over as she was so frightened, then it was taking her food everyday to make sure she was eating, getting her gas cut off, then getting her in to hospital when she accidentally took too many of her anti depressants, and then searching the streets when she went missing etc etc, it ended up with the police picking her up when she was wandering and lost again one day.

she ended up sectioned and never left institutions, went from there to a home then a nursing home

*phew* the reason for replying is we (as a close and loving family) have got to the stage where she has lost all dignity, is double incontinent, unable to walk / feed herself etc,and we have found it very difficult to watch this, I thought I had grieved at this time but.....

xmas day we visited and my mum (her sister) got very upset, saying 'she's not right, she's not right' but unable to identify why

She had developed a chest infection and fortunately / unfortunately since stopped eating / drinking and has slipped into unconsciousness, we have been told she is going to die since Sunday night, and we are now still visiting but just waiting....

we have been *hoping* she will pass for a good few years now, as she has lost all identity and dignity (despite the home('s) being very good) but as it has come so suddenly it is difficult to deal with - but - personally I will be happier to see my mum being able to finally grieve (as she *still* seems to hope she will get better) for her sister, but also to know she is no longer experiencing the *life* she has been.

It is so so so tough to think like this, so I can totally understand your pain, but I really do think I 'lost' her around 4-5yr ago, there was a time she knew it was 'safe to open the door to the girl with bright pink hair as she knew she knew me but she's not known who I am now for so many years. I have cried and cried, and have spent this week trying to hold it together at work and then cried and cried at home - but your grandad isnt the man who you once loved and knew, I reallly thought I would be ok now but not....

this disease is horrendous and utterly devastating for those watching and supporting - but please don't think you are alone!!!

I really feel for you - I think it is especially hard for younger family members,

I would suggest the best thing to do is to try and begin the grieving process now but be sure it wont necessarily make it any easier when the time happens, as I had thought!

My aunt never got violent with us, but on occasion with male nurses she did as she had been married for 50+ yrs and she could not understand a different man in her room and on occasion she tried to lock the nurses in her wardrobe or hit them, what you have to understand is this is usually the illness and not the person, it can be very difficult for them to make sense of what is going on around them and most times it is the family / supporters who get the brunt of it


Make sure you are seeking support and being ind to yourself x x
 

Margaret W

Registered User
Apr 28, 2007
3,720
0
North Derbyshire
Hi Bambam Amber

My bet is your grandad is remembering you as a younger sister he had, or a cousin, or a niece, or even a younger sister of his own mother. Or maybe even the child of sister or brother. Look into his family tree. I can help you with that if you wish, I am pretty good on it. He is seeing you as being familiar to a relative from his past. It won't be an old girlfriend, it will be a relative. You might not resemble any of his current family, but you might resemble someone from his past.

I remember being given a photo of my grandma's family, showing my grandma age 6 and her 8 siblings. I spotted myself at once. I was the spitting image of her sister Bertha, born 1887.

Your grandad will have been reminded by somebody in your family, I bet on it.

Dig out your family photos from way back when. One day your granddad might call you Bertha!

Much love

Margaret
 

Tana

Registered User
Jan 2, 2012
53
0
Also use photos you have of the two of you together to rekindle memories of you.

My mother can't decide if I'm her mother or her sister-in-law. She must have a vague memory of me as she calls me "the woman from up the hill" which is where I live in relation to her.

This is a cruel illness, full of bereavement as we let go of parts of the person we knew. Your thoughts about wishing him dead are very natural, so don't feel guilty. Please try to allow your feelings to happen and be kind to yourself.
 

Mrs T

Registered User
Jan 11, 2012
18
0
You definitely need to be kind to yourself and understand that these feelings are totally normal, don't beat yourself up for being scared, wishing they were dead etc, it's all part and parcel of this horrible disease.

My mum rarely recognises me anymore and I often think what is the point of visiting when it doesn't mean much to her and I just feel miserable, but I do it on the offchance that she is having a good day. I call her "mum" regularly in conversation to help her place me as a daughter and I refer to my name or being the youngest wherever possible to help her pinpoint which daughter. Then suddenly, just when I think she has no idea who I am, she will surprise me completely by refering to my husband by name!! So it's worth hanging in there for those ocassional moments of clarity.

Another good trick is to talk about things you used to do together to help them remember you as well as help you remember the good times rather than the present. I have to go back some 20 years for her to remember, which means I was a small child, but it often works.

I also think you do have to start the grieving process as you are beginning to lose the person you know.

Best of luck to you and your grandpa.
 

Chemmy

Registered User
Nov 7, 2011
7,590
0
Yorkshire
Hello Bambam

If you're finding talking with him difficult ('cos you don't know what to say) then take something with you when you visit that you can do together. I was able to play snakes and ladders, dominoes, ludo, simple games like that with my mum and it meant we could chat about the game on the table rather than trying to have vague conversations about things and people she was having difficulty recalling. Try a simple jigsaw - again chat about the bit you're looking for and don't worry if he can't 'help'.

Can you draw? Take a sketch pad or a whiteboard and pens and maybe draw some simple cartoonlike pictures and then you can sit and chat about what you're doing. You might find he's just happy to sit and watch you, rather than trying to hold a conversation.
 

BamBam...xxx

Registered User
Jan 11, 2012
4
0
Thank you to everyone who has written back to me you all have great ideas on how to cope and i will certainly try all of them to find one that works :) i havent managed to go see him yet but its his birthday at the beginning of febuary and i always bake him a cake and go to see him with my mum for a little tea party, i used to read him spike milligan poems as he is my favorite author and his poems and short stories make him laugh so i might try that. I think i started grieving for him just before christmas 2012 when i got it in my head that would be the last christmas with him but, i think this one was the last one we would have where he would come to us, and with state his house is in, its a dartmoor long house and its starting to fall down where he cant look after it but he wants to give it to me and as im 18 he can so we have to go through that process if i can come up with how to do it up and re-house grandma and grandpa, christmas definatly wont be the same anymore!

most nights i stay at my boyfriends as when im at home and go to bed i just want to cry and i just feel so alone, i even have dreams where im stood in his room talking to him like i used to and slowly the conversation changes, and he starts disappearing and then im stood in the dark on my own i wake up crying, ive woke my boyfriend up because im like squeezing his arm and saying no dont go and im gettin louder hes woke me up and ive just started crying, hes been really good to me i can talk to him when ever i want and also said i can ring him when im home if im upset or wake up in that state whenever i need him.

I know that from now on its just going get harder rather then easier and i keep telling myself its the illness its not him, but its so hard

xxx
 

Chemmy

Registered User
Nov 7, 2011
7,590
0
Yorkshire
Reading him short funny poems is a great idea. Act them out a bit too if you like - even if he doesn't understand what you're saying, he'll like the visual entertainment.

You sound like a lovely granddaughter. Good luck.
 

BamBam...xxx

Registered User
Jan 11, 2012
4
0
Originally Posted by Chemmy
You sound like a lovely granddaughter. Good luck.
Thank you Chemmy i hope he thinks the same, i have the up most respect for him hes my idol if im completely honest!

I find being on my own really hard my mind all ways wonders on to it and i find it hard to keep my mind occupied when im alone
at the moment im trying to come up with an idea to keep his house in the family as that was his plan when he bought it its a lovely old dartmoor long in an amazing location, i feel that all my life he has been getting me ready to take it on as my own, and has recently said that he wants me to have it if i manage to save it it will be a dream come true and id feel that i have made him proud its alot of work but ill find away to do it for him. its what he would want
 

Saffie

Registered User
Mar 26, 2011
22,516
0
Near Southampton
Amber, in days to come, in the future when your grandfather is no longer with you, the memories of the recent years will fade and you will be left with the lovely memories form the days before he was taken ill. That will happen, I know because it happened with my mother and I am sure it will happen wth my husband though it is a different situation. how lovely that you might have the lovely dartmoor house as a living,loving memory of your grandfather. You do sound a really delightful granddaughter and I'm sure your grandfather would be immensly proud of you.