Recognizing and Adapting to Changes in Dementia Level and Status

Leah Health Guide
  • Dementia comes in many forms and levels. My Vascular dementia has allowed me to maintain life at the same capabilities I had when diagnosed five or six years ago. I knew my life would change further at a later time, and that time is now.

    Ever so slight changes...almost unperceivable. Like, all of a sudden, one day, after taking a shower and reaching for the deodorant, I look at it and the thought runs through my mind: When did I last use deodorant? Thinking further, I remember that I am a fiend for cleanliness-and I detest sweat!!! I shower at least once a day every day. I have a routine...shower, dry off, use deodorant, powder, get dressed. I know I have a routine. But, on this day, the deodorant, though recognizable, is not being remembered in the past. Weird little things like this are happening to me.

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    And, I want to share them with you, the reader. You, the caregiver, wondering about the inner thoughts and workings of your loved one with dementia. You, the person with dementia, who may have some of the same experiences I am having; you, who may feel very alone in your struggles-but, you are NOT!

    Now that my husband and I have moved into our small cottage, keeping house is a lot easier. Too bad we couldn't have made the move sooner!!! But, even in this small house, I have difficulty remembering when I've done things. Vacuuming isn't difficult-you can SEE when you need to vacuum. The need to wash dishes is not hard either-especially in our very small kitchen. The things I cannot remember are when I cleaned the shower or toilet, when I changed the beds, when I did the laundry... This difficulty in remembering when something was done may not be new...I just may be recognizing it now.

    I'm very pro-active and am determined that I will function as highly as possible for as long as I can. Therefore, whenever I perceive a problem, I seek a solution. Many times, you, my readers, have been very helpful. For my housekeeping memory problems, though, I have found a solution-a Housekeeping Calendar. Each time something is done, I will put it on the calendar! Problem solved!!

    A calendar is also useful for keeping track of my blood sugars, insulin injections, and medication intake. This calendar I keep right over the coffee pot. Each morning, I take my blood sucrose reading and post it at the top of the day along with a dash and how many units of insulin I use. Below that, at the end of the day, there should be an "X" with an "S" on each side. My procedure is this: In the morning, when I take my meds, I put one slash diagonally across the date. When I do my shots, I put an "S" to the left of it. At night, after taking my meds, I put the second slash in the opposite diagonal position. Then, after taking my insulin, I put another "S", this time, to the right of the X.


    The placement of the calendar affords my husband the ability to keep track of both my progress and my medication intake. He praises me when the numbers are good. He questions me when they are bad so that we can both figure out what made the difference. He can also tell whether I've taken my medication on time. At first, I had a hard time remembering to use the calendar...but it is getting much easier now.

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    And so, my dear reader, life is not be the same when dementia enters your life. It's how you look at it...how you adjust your life to accommodate the changes that is important.

Published On: July 11, 2011