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Newport Independent - Newport, AR
The ups and downs of helping my dad care for my grandmother who suffers from Dementia
Dinner and a Grandma
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About this blog
By Carole Anderson
I am a local teacher. I have three daughters and a very, very busy life. My husband is a mental health therapist. He is probably the reason I stay sane. Family is the No. 1 priority in my life. My 88-year-old grandmother has dementia, and my father ...
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Life is Hard...If You Don't Know or Remember the Directions
I am a local teacher. I have three daughters and a very, very busy life. My husband is a mental health therapist. He is probably the reason I stay sane. Family is the No. 1 priority in my life. My 88-year-old grandmother has dementia, and my father is her primary guardian. She recognizes very few of her family members now. She does however remember me and my girls. Because of this, we are able to help to take care of her. With this blog, we share our memories, moments of insanity and our breakdowns. We have found that by seeing the humor with Dementia, we are able to survive. I hope this blog helps anyone taking care of a loved one that is dealing with a similar situation. Sometimes it helps knowing others are out there answering the same questions and just taking it one day at a time.
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Many times, Dad has had to miss birthday dinners and family get togethers in order to cater to Grandma at night.  Saturday night, he decided to bring Grandma to Famous Dave's for my sister's birthday dinner.  Grandma was uneasy about the trip but she got ready.  She spent Wednesday night hiding her shoes.  So, on Saturday when it was time to go, the only shoes Dad could find was the red shoes missing soles.  She put the shoes on and got in the car. Her gray stringy hair hanging down her back.





I was warned by text Grandma was on her way.  I knew in my mind this was going to be a treat for not only her but for Dad too.  We arrived around 6:00 PM at the restaurant.  Mom, Dad, Grandma, and 10 other relatives were waiting on us.  I naturally took my seat beside Grandma.  She didn't know my name, but she recognized me to some extent.  She was glad to see us but I could tell she was overwhelmed by all the faces.





She nibbled constantly on chips and appetizers while we waited on our food.  I videotaped her with my phone.  She would be talking and when she saw the camera, she would shut up!  I was really wanting to catch her make some comments.  My sister's ring caught her eye.  She told me she had lost her rings. I told her that she had hid them in her house.  I started filming her again and she saw herself on the phone.  She smiled and said "Hello".  As soon as the camera went off, she said she looked like an old hag.





We ate and carried on with our dinner.  She saw my sister and mom talking.  She thought they were talking about her.  I told her that they were talking about me.  She said they kept looking at her and making comments.  I told her again that they were talking about me not her.





She ate everything on her plate.  She really enjoyed the meal and enjoyed visiting but you could tell the night was taking its toll on her.  She finished up her meal and said she had a little headache.





Around 7:00 PM, the fun started!  The waitress arrived with the check and gave it to Daddy.  OMG!!  She looked at me and wanted to know if he was going to pay for the meal.  I said yes and told her daddy always pays for the meals.  Sara told her the same thing.   She was upset about this situation.





Grandma:  He can't afford to pay for YOUR meals. He is my husband, and I am a nurse.  I work at the hospital and we can't afford this.





Me:  It is ok, Grandma.  He does this all the time.  (WRONG COMMENT)





Grandma:  You need to pass a basket around the table so everyone can chip in and pay for all this food.





Me:  It is ok.  We are fine.





Grandma:  Yeah..You want him to pay.   I know how you all operate.  You take us out to eat and make him pay.  You stick us with the bill, and you get off scott free!





By this time, I was laughing.





She started getting agitated.  She mumbled something to daddy.





My mother, looked at Daddy and said:  Sweetheart, do you need something?





Grandma asked who she was.  I told her mom was Daddy's wife Brenda.





She gave mom a look and nodded at her.  She had made several looks towards mom.  Mom said the seating arrangement would be different the next time.  LOL





Grandma decided she had enough of all this commotion.  She pushed her seat back and said she was going home.





Everyone was looking at her and asked her where she was going.  She walked towards the other table and grabbed a paper towel to blow her nose.  I went to her and told her that we would be leaving soon. She was ready to go right now!  I asked her if she needed to go to the bathroom.  She said she could wait until she got home.  A 45 minute drive, I didn't think she could hold it.  I offered to take her to the bathroom.





We get in the bathroom.  It didn't dawn on me until she was trying to operate the electric paper towel dispenser that she didn't understand what to do.   Kiley and I were laughing when she pushed the motion sensor to get towels out.





We got out of there quickly and she told me I wasn't moving quick enough.  I led her out to the van.  Daddy opened up the door for anyone riding with him to get in.  Grandma made a line to the van.  She got in and held her head.  She had all she could take.

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