Loss of Memory is Stressful
No one knows what tomorrow holds...but what would it be like to live your life not knowing what YESTERDAY held? What would it be like not to remember your best friend called? Or that you babysat your grandchild? Or that you went grocery shopping?
How would you feel about cooking and having to refer to the recipe twenty or thirty times-or more-just to complete it?
Imagine having a great idea and putting it forth to your spouse, only to have him say, "We discussed that yesterday and you wanted ..." something different. For instance, changing the placement of furniture or the paint color for the wall...imagine living with someone who repeatedly changes her mind because she can't remember the decision she had already made...
Living with dementia is like living a life of Swiss cheese. It is full, very full, of holes...holes in one's memory which can affect loved ones nearby. My husband does not know what I remember and what I don't. He tentatively will remind me of something as if he is walking on eggshells. He is afraid that I may feel like I'm being treated as if I am stupid...and, truthfully, sometimes I DO feel stupid!!!
Other times, I DO FEEL like he is treating me like I can remember nothing... What a difficult position for him to be in-for that matter, it's not easy for me either!!!
This problem with memory and the affect it has on relationships is reaching a head with our move to my brother's house. Seventeen years ago, my brother built his house, which is only three houses from the cottage we are living in. Because we love the community and have found the cottage to be just too small, we decided we would buy my brother's house from his widow. We are now updating it and painting walls; we have done much of it ourselves. My husband and I have had some heated exchanges, most related to my inability to remember decisions that I have made-or even, in some instances, to make a decision at all. This is new territory to us-this difficulty in communication.
What are we doing to make this situation more bearable? The most important thing is that we are keeping our communication open and truthful. I am trying to help him see where I am, where my mind is, what I am dealing with. I have had to turn over to him the job of keeping track of decisions made. I have had to turn over to him the chore of dealing with any and all workers who are helping us because I cannot keep it all straight.
I look to him to tell me what to do next-and have gotten him to work with me by giving me ONE job at a time. I work really hard to stay on task and focused. It doesn't take anything much for me to go to do one thing and start to do something else that looks more fun instead...
Living with someone with dementia is not easy. Loved ones and caregivers deserve a lot of credit!! May God bless you all!!