People with Dementia Love Sweets.

cookie monster

Caught Red-Handed…Evidence in Hand!

Funny how much a dementia patient will love sweets. It’s the highlight of their day and they will sneak around the house trying to get them at any opportunity. Yesterday was Saturday and I was home for the day having finished all my errands and supermarket runs. Took a break after lunch to sit and work on a gift that I have been making for a friend when who do I see shuffling by through the living room? Yep, you guessed it, my mother! I didn’t even ask what she doing or where she was going because I knew exactly what she was up to. She was headed in a straight bee-line for the kitchen as she does everyday as if she was on a mission…one foot in front of the other taking baby steps, not turning her head to say hello, not stopping for anything.

Tonya the dog is slowly walking behind her knowing what she was up to. Of course Tonya knew there was something in it for her so she stayed close-by. I just sat there and said nothing, just watching. I hear plastic noises in the kitchen so I figured I’d go in to monitor the situation. There she was, cookie in hand, waving it proudly for my photo. What the heck, she had her lunch so why not a cookie? She loves cookies and sweets of all kinds as her mother and father did and their parents before them. Not sure if it is just a trait of her family or if it’s magnified by the dementa. Her father had dementia and he was a sweets monger also. My grandmother was a grand baker of cakes, cup cakes and cookies so there was always something sweet in the house. She made the best chocolate ship cookies that I have ever had.

This morning after doing her morning routine, she follows me into the kitchen to watch while I make her breakfast, then usually she follows me back to sit down at her table to eat. This morning, while I was making her breakfast she seems distracted, moving over to the left to stand directly in front of the cookies, giving them a stare as a bird dog would stand in position when pointing out a bird in the field. I looked over at her and all she could muster up was “oh boy, look at that”. Since every day is a new day for her, every day is also a newly discovered box of cookies! All I said was ooookay…if you still want one after you eat your breakfast, you can have one for your morning snack…of course a few hours later she was ready for her morning snack and had her cookie! Funny how they forget almost everything else, but they always remember to get their sweets.

So why not a cookie? At her age and with what she is going through, every day should be good for her. After all, today may be her last day so who am I to say that she can’t have a cookie? At this point, I am thinking quality rather than quantity. As long as she still knows what a cookie is, she is welcomed to have one if it makes her happy. The Cookie Monster Strikes Again!

So, why not a cookie?

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I’ve Been Wondering Where My Mother Is…

gma_favorite_cropToday is my grandmother’s birthday…February 13th…the day before Valentine’s Day. She would have been well over 100 years old by this time. A day that I can never forget..I will never forget, February 13th. She was my rock as a child. This was her wedding photo. I can’t help but notice that she had eyes like blue ice. I thought she was pretty as a young person. It’s actually hard to believe that your grandmother could ever have been young, but they, just as we, were once young and vibrant, now a thing of the past.

Well, it’s common for a dementia patient to be looking for their parents and that has held true for my mother throughout her disease as well. We went through this long period of time where the main focus of her day, mostly at sundown would be spent looking for her mother, and Cardine would have to stand in front of the door to prevent her from leaving to look for her. What is that? Is she just going back to a good time in life, and therefore remembering her mother? Or perhaps, she is thinking that she is 10 years old, or in a crisis where she needs the good advise of her mother. We will never know.

There is one thing that I do know. I was home, yet again today from yet another horrendous winter storm, a classic noreaster, that the northeast has been facing this year, when my mother walks out  to me looking for her mother. This hasn’t happened for a very long time and I guess, it got me to wondering. While cooking dinner tonight, low and behold a thought goes through my head…OMG…it’s my grandmother’s birthday today. Of course she came to me looking for her mother…even though she is void of her memory, a black hole, but somehow, some way she knows. It’s her mother’s birthday today but doesn’t know how to verbalize it and probably can’t even make sense of it. The thought of her mother is just there at the top of her mind. This was astronomical for me as a believer of this train of thought. I truly believe that her mother was here, in this house today, although I am not in tune enough to know that…somehow, some way, I believe that…all unexplainable.

Her mother, my grandmother was a crucial role model for me and she was something to behold. She was very old fashioned and very dedicated to her family. She took me on even when it was too much for her, as I was quite a handful as a child. My mother relied heavily on her to fill in when I was sick, on weekends, summers, holidays or just whenever and I loved every minute of it. I thank god for her as she is the reason that I am as normal as I am. I have always aspired to be just like her. Again, be careful for what you wish for in life. She died from the stress of taking care of her husband with dementia. I miss her as much as my mother does. Happy birthday Grandma!

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The Elderly and Bad Winters, Not a Good Combo

drawing 3
drawing 2
drawing 4Well, here I am, at home again with another bad weather system, today an ice storm. Cardine was not able to make it and I don’t blame her a bit since I myself was afraid to drive in it. So, Mom’s routine has been broken for the second time this week caused by winter storms. She has a doctor appointment on Friday and I have planned a day off, but I had to reschedule for fear to take her out of the house, not to mention living on a hill. Icy hills and elderly dementia patients aren’t a good combo either.

Needless to say, aside from being a little confused and cranky, she’s holding up pretty well considering that I haven’t spent much time with her. I am working remotely from home, so she must amuse herself today. I do however get a lunch hour which explains this post! I gave her a box of her papers, so she has been doing her secretarial sorting all morning. Gotta love those boxes of papers, they are so important to her. She can actually spend the whole day going through them and she is perfectly content doing that. For her, every day is a new day and a new box of papers.

Well, the above drawings were done by my mother about a year or so ago. I would find little things like that and put them aside. It’s interesting because it looks like a family of ducks. Since she is always looking to leave the house and look for her mother, I am interpreting that she pictures her mother, father and sister in these drawings, although her sister was not a twin. She was her older sister and they were very close We lost her to Leukemia years ago. The second drawing is on a paper towel, clearly showing that she is calling to her mother for help. The third drawing is her all alone, crying for help. What that means to me is that she feels lost and she can’t find the only family she remembers. Unfortunately, she is now past the point of making drawings. I am grateful that I have these to give me insight to what she is thinking. How sad…what a terrible disease.

Meanwhile, while she is occupying her time with sorting her papers, the rest of us are stressing about not going to work today and having to deal with more ice in tomorrow’s early commute. There is something to be said for being in your own world, oblivious to the worries of the world.

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