The normality of Dementia

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Flake, Dec 15, 2015.

  1. Flake

    Flake Registered User

    Mar 9, 2015
    How bizarre my life has become. Dementia has become normal.
    I visit my Mum, she will ask how the dog is - "oh he is out with his friends but has been in to eat as his bowl is empty" - this is normal. The fact is that the dog died 55 years ago
    She will ask if I have seen her Uncle or Dad - "not today as I have been at work" this is normal. The fact is that they both passed away years ago.
    She will ask how is Uncle Charlie is - "he has gone fishing with his friends from the care home" this is normal . The fact is that he died 45 years ago and was never in a care home.
    She will ask what I have been doing - "I have been at work" - what on a Sunday? - this is normal. Almost every day is a Sunday and this has become normal.

    My visits are now filled with repetative questions, her memory is limited to probably 30 seconds before the question is asked again. This is normal. My mum will not eat or drink and she becomes agitated when we put the freezer and fridge contents away that have been got out for a family visit. I have become a terrible daughter and how could I leave her on her own - this has become normal.

    I am surprised that this way of life for me has become normal and I have accepted it. I am now going along with the journey of dementia and am thankful that my Mum has no idea of the way she has changed and at least most of the time she is happy. This is all normal :(
  2. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    You really made me smile - I don't know if you meant to or not but you really did!
    How many of us enter this very strange world where we find ourselves joining in Alice in Wonderland conversations - many of us. We don't question the strange comments, we just answer them as we enter the tunnel and continue to discuss the truth based fantasies and occasionally try to fathom the root - but not often - usually we just go along with it until we reach the end of the tunnel and brush ourselves down and then find ourselves staring into the face of the Cheshire Cat!

    Contented dementia - it sucks us in but when we look back we still see the gently smiling face of our loved one - it really is worth it!

    Thinking of you
  3. Flake

    Flake Registered User

    Mar 9, 2015
    Hi Fizzie, You smile away I really dont mind. :)
  4. Amy in the US

    Amy in the US Registered User

    Feb 28, 2015
    I know EXACTLY what you mean

    Oh, yes, Flake, I hear you. Some of my random thoughts about the dementia conversations:

    -if only I'd taken acting classes, I would be better at this

    -never mind acting, you need to be able to do improv (improvisational comedy) to deal with dementia!

    -I can't believe I am having this conversation

    -I can't believe I am having this conversation again

    -oh, yes, they were fine the last time I saw them (if being dead is fine)

    And it goes on.

    I remember a couple of weeks ago, we took my mother out for lunch and she was having a mostly lucid day. I got complacent, in fact, because she was so lucid and it was mostly "normal" conversation. As we were driving, she looked out the car window and noticed a seagull. She immediately broke off our "normal" conversation to say, oh, look at the bird! An eagle--I think it's an eagle! You don't see those often, it's so beautiful, I just love eagles!!" and I was "mm-hmmm-ing" and "really" and "oh, yes, I know" along with the best of them, and then we went back to talking about lunch. I had a moment of feeling displaced or outside myself somehow, and it was so very disorienting.

    I'm not describing this at all well, but you know what I mean. It's like a kind of compartmentalization, that when I'm around my mother I step onto Planet Dementia and have to be ready to field whatever it throws at me, and then I'm supposed to be normal the rest of the time. But the transition can be difficult.

    The problem is, nobody who hasn't been to Planet Dementia understands or wants to hear about it. Thank God for TP.
  5. Sue J

    Sue J Registered User

    Dec 9, 2009

    What is 'normal' eh? I sympathise Flake. Its surprising how one can listen to the same 'stuff' for so many years and not wonder about one's own sanity:rolleyes: because 'it's normal':confused:
  6. 1mindy

    1mindy Registered User

    Jul 21, 2015
    What a well written post, it made me smile too.
    I describe it my parallel world,yes it all becomes normal. The people in the house,the daughter who reminds him of .....his daughter but prettier. The two dogs when there is only one ....I could go on.
  7. jasmineflower

    jasmineflower Registered User

    Aug 27, 2012
    I found bringing up 3 children good practise for planet dementia: long car journeys spent listening to my son's weird and wild stories about rockets and space; my daughters long speeches about ponies and princesses that I listened to with half an ear and "mm", "really", "what happened next ?" At regular intervals.
    Personal comments made out loud in supermarket queues and endless questions.

    Very good training and the reason my husband always used to say " you cope much better than me with my mum"
  8. Alison N

    Alison N Registered User

    Jan 3, 2015
    Oh Amy, you made me laugh out loud, you are so right about Planet Dementia and those who haven't been on it don't understand and they certainly don't want to hear about it. I also feel like I am living two different lives. The dementia one and the normal one but the normal one doesn't get lived that often.
  9. nae sporran

    nae sporran Volunteer Host

    Oct 29, 2014
    That short period when you try to work out what OH is actually talking about, trying to be patient which usually buys enough time to guess. It is another planet right enough.

    This is what they meant at the caring with confidence course when they said patience and a sense of humour are skills you learn on the job as a carer.
  10. Kitten71

    Kitten71 Registered User

    Jul 22, 2013
    East Yorkshire
    Yes, all the strange conversations I have with my dad have very much become the norm now. He asked me if I'd arrived on my pony today. I just said yes, then he asked me what time I put it to bed. '8pm' I said. 'Ah, that's about right' he said, and so we go on. I don't mention these things to my friends anymore. They look at me like I've grown two heads when I try and explain the world of Lewy body dementia :eek:
  11. Blimey

    Blimey Registered User

    Jun 6, 2012
    Hi Flake
    The normal which is so bizarre it becomes a parallel life.
    I live my life in 2 worlds in 1 house and:) still sometimes laugh at how surreal it can be.
    Like you I am just happy mum doesn't realise. :)
  12. Emac

    Emac Registered User

    Mar 2, 2013
    What? You mean the nonsense conversations I have with my mum are NOT NORMAL??? ;););)
  13. Flake

    Flake Registered User

    Mar 9, 2015
    Had a visit today - 4pm and Mum was in bed - oh hello Margaret she said (not my name) have you come to get into bed with me? The Carer arrived and was asked if she was coming to bed too. I had a 'normal' conversation back said I wasnt quite ready for bed yet, and the Carer and I went into the kitchen - Mum went to sleep. All so normal :confused: As one of my best friends will say ........and breathe :rolleyes:
  14. Flake

    Flake Registered User

    Mar 9, 2015
    I sometimes have to laugh too, which in a way is good as my Mum will think she has made a joke and will also laugh :)
  15. copsham

    copsham Registered User

    Oct 11, 2012
    I like this thread!

    I like this thread because I have similar weird and wonderful conversations with my mother. I sometimes what to share and laugh but somehow it seems disrespectful to do so. At least on this thread we are all on the same wavelength!

    My mother will tell me about the white dog (imaginary) that keeps following her around, all the problems it gives her. Yesterday she thought she was going to school but decided that in London you don't go to school when it is raining. When I go along with this with very serious mmmm's and aaah's sometimes I want to burst out laughing.

    I did burst out laughing one day last week. My mother said "do you believe me?" "believe what ?" I said. "Do you believe me" she said. "oh yes" I said. Mum said "oh yes? what do you believe then?" this went on getting more confusing and I burst out laughing as did she and we gave each other a big hug. What a relief.

    The joys of dementia.
  16. Flake

    Flake Registered User

    Mar 9, 2015
    its good that we can laugh - and that the laughing can be infectious, even if we dont know what we are really laughing about :)
  17. DMac

    DMac Registered User

    Jul 18, 2015
    Surrey, UK
    Odd conversations

    I have a part-time job as a care worker and have visited a few dementia patients recently. Here are a couple of examples of weird and wonderful conversations I had with my customers at bed time:

    1st conversation
    Imagine P, seated on a toilet, whilst I encourage her to take a pee by making pssss sounds.

    P: "Well, it's all a bit ridiculous really" (said with a frown)

    Me: "Pssssssss! Come on P!" (I'm smiling)

    P: (smiles at me) "You're very sweet!"

    Me: "Pssssssss! Psssssss! Thrrrrp (farting noises) Come on P you can do one for me!" (I'm still smiling)

    P: "Hahahahahaha!!! (LoL) (she doesn't do a pee but she clearly finds the whole thing very funny)

    Me: Come on let's go to bed now, P! (I try to gently coax her off the toilet)

    P: (frowning) Oh,...what? I don't....No,....are you sure?

    At this point, P gets up with a bit of encouragement from me, then and gives me a big hug. I get her into bed eventually.

    2nd conversation

    H: (a German lady) I'm very tired today. Time for bed. (She is clearly tired)

    Me: (in my schoolgirl German): "Hallo H! I speak a just a little German"

    H: (in German): You speak German very well! (She has perked up now)

    (I proceed with my colleague to get her ready for bed, speaking odd words to her in German, the few I can still remember anyway!)

    H: (in German): You speak German very well!

    H: (in German): You speak German very well!

    H: (in German): You speak German very well!

    Repeat several times

    H goes to bed still repeating the phrase over and over, like a mantra, eventually lulling herself to sleep.
  18. Flake

    Flake Registered User

    Mar 9, 2015
    Oh that made me smile -

    I had a normal day yesterday - My mum had got everything out of the freezer - again and the poor carer put it all way again.

    She asked what I had been doing - and I said my normal reply - that I had been shopping and that I was going into town later. My Mum had been into town in the morning - had walked all the way (over 3 miles) - but as it was not busy and there was hardly anyone around she came home. The fact is she had not been out as the gate is locked and the front door key is lost! But these conversations are as normal as my replies are getting. I am having a me today today - feel I need to be NORMAL ! :D
  19. nae sporran

    nae sporran Volunteer Host

    Oct 29, 2014
    Hi, Dmac. OH is German, although she has been in England for 40 years. She has the same reaction when she finds a carer who speaks German. It's a pity I have still to master the language in 9 years, but she does perk up and tell me how well I speak it even when I get it wrong. The other funny thing she does with the carers is to insist she does not want a shower, then perks up and gets very complimentary when they patiently help her to do so anyway. Keep up the good work.
  20. Azay28

    Azay28 Registered User

    Nov 21, 2015
    Planet Dementia

    Some of your comments also made me smile. I haven't quite reached the odd conversations yet although have had one or two unusual questions. I think what's been helpful is the fact I work with children and you need a load of patience and sense of humour to do that so it's a follow on in dealing with MuM.

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