My mother was diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2010. This is a blog about coming to terms with her absent mind.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Dementia 101

If you were to bump into the pair of us having lunch at the garden centre or wandering around Tesco you'd probably think that Ma occasionally struggles to remember things but can hold a conversation fairly well. However, holding a conversation isn't all that challenging at this stage, it's the other things which show quite clearly how she cannot be left to fend for herself.

All of the following have happened over the last few weeks, sometimes more than once or twice. The concern is always about safety but also about helping her to be as independent as possible.

Unable to:

Turn on the shower
Dial a telephone
Use the TV remote
Use the microwave or oven
Turn off the gas on the hob
Use the vacuum cleaner
Wash up (ugh.. don't get me started)

Other things....

She dressed herself perfectly well but put everything on inside-out
Couldn't work out how to get into the doctor's surgery despite being next to the door
Tries to open the car door using the wing mirror or the electric window buttons
Has no concept of time - made an appt at the dentist this morning for 14:15 She was ready and waiting (coat on, handbag clutched) from 10:00 and became ever more annoyed when I had to tell her over and over that it was still several hours until we needed to leave.

I have to be as level and unruffled as possible. Those who know me well will be chuckling at this point - I have been known very occasionally to be a slightly less than 'level' so a steep learning curve for me.


  1. When Mom was in lower stages of dementia I'd tell her I'd be by to pick her up after lunch for her doctor's appointments, and she'd start expecting me the night before. So we quit telling her, and instead just came, got her dressed and took her. Less stress for us!

    1. Yes that became the norm for me too - as you will read later on. The trouble is, I guess, that you are constantly dealing with a moving target. You think you have 'got' the situation sorted and then the other person changes the rules again.