Posted by Tim Barber at 09/08/2012 10:56:52
Mum’s forgetfulness was becoming far more pronounced and we started to try and counter this by leaving notes and post its with reminders throughout the house.
Simple tasks such as turning on the TV or working the DVD became too complex for mum, so she just stopped bothering and started listening to the radio. We did write and place instructions on and near the TV, stuck labels with ‘how to use guides’ on the remote, I even laminated cards at work but she moved them and forgot where they were!
Early on in this stage, her driving began to decline as she started to forget basic things. Mum had never been a confident driver and refused to drive more than a few miles from her home or on busy roads, but I do remember a particular journey to the local newsagents when she drove over the middle of a roundabout!
I think she must have scared herself a few times before and this final incident caused a complete loss of confidence in driving. In the end I hid the car keys, but we didn’t sell the car as it was best for mum to believe, as she kept saying “I’ll drive again when I’m feeling better”.
Mum could walk to the local shops and get money out sometimes, by cashing cheques at the Post Office. She never quite grasped plastic cards but always had enough cash to buy food, as we gave my aunties a cash card so they could sneak £30 a week into her purse.
These walks to the shops did often end in mum forgetting what she’d gone for and with increasing frequency she’d lock herself out of her house. This lost key issue was something we managed through giving neighbours spare keys and having a key safe put on the side of the house. Even though mum couldn’t use it, someone could usually get her back into her house.
As the fridge and cupboards were becoming more empty every time I visited, I started doing big shops for mum every few weeks, in the hope she had enough food to last. If I couldn’t make it down I’d get online shopping deliveries direct to her house. My aunties topped up my shops with fresh fruit and vegetables each week.
Mum’s awareness of time also started to go. She stopped sleeping at normal times, would get up at strange times in the night to do washing up and started sleeping in a chair. This wasn’t causing any harm, but was another example of abnormal behaviour.
We could sense things were getting worse but when raising the problem with mum she would always deny anything was the matter.
I have seen lots of discussions about people instigating a conversation with parents but often feel that these people don’t understand the catch 22 of the situation. Every time I tried to start a conversation with mum, I knew she would forget 5 minutes later.
My next blog will be on what I see as a Stage 3 – Where things are getting noticeably worse.