We take things for granted, that’s for certain.

Life especially.

I think we get to a point in life where we start to regret things we haven’t done or achieved. Not my nan, she’s a powerhouse. She’s never really spoken about her life, ever so often she’ll speak about her years as a ballerina or she’ll speak about living in a cottage in the countryside during the war. The thing about my nan is she’s humble, I don’t mean in a normal, not bragging way, I mean she literally won’t name her achievements ever.

It’s hard to delve into her history but she shows how much she loves us every day and that’s her way of bragging, her family is her huge achievement (as I explain in one word for ‘success’.)

She has never taken anything in her life for granted, making sure every moment she spends with me and my siblings was the best time for us. Filling it full of memories and new experiences.

Me on the other hand, now.. I am definitely someone who has taken things for granted. The worst thing for me right now is taking my Nan for granted.

She has always been so amazing, so attentive and caring, sharing her love with the whole family, giving us each the time and patients we needed. Sharing her life with me, I don’t think I’ve done enough in the past years to do the same for her. I’m guilt ridden from it. When I was younger I used to write her letters every week, since she started losing her eye sight it was discouraged as it was upsetting her that she could no longer read them and reply.

She’s in her late 80’s now and has just recently (the past 5 months or so) been suffering with the symptoms of Alzheimers. We haven’t been able to get proper testing for her but the doctors and medical advice she’s had all indicates that that is what this is. It’s come on so quickly and heavily.

In a matter of months she’s already forgetting who her family are and how old she is. It’s only just hitting home that we’re losing her but I don’t think I’ll get into that just yet, maybe another time. It’s only now that we, or at least I, have started understanding that she won’t be herself anymore.

We’re already losing her.

Day by day, and I think it’s this picture in particular that reminds me of everything we’ve ever done together,we are losing her, who she is, or was, as a person. As my Nan.

what-this-photo-means

The point of this article is to really explain who she is, or was. It is also here as an insight as to the struggles that such awful diseases bring but along with that, remembering how much that person means to you and that small changes to the home can make massive improvements to your loved ones quality of life.

Small changes we have made to help my nan and her careers.

We had to have a stairlift put in.

Not just because she needs to get upstairs, there’s not really much up there but she wants to be upstairs. There is an amazing view of fields for miles at the back of her house, she often sits in the back room and will watch the world from that window. That’s the difference of dealing with this disease, the person you love is still there, they still want to watch the world. Making small changes to enhance their life really does make a huge difference.

Renovated the spare space under the stairs to be a bathroom.

When you have a loved one suffering with such a horrendous disease it can make toileting twice as hard. Confusion and muscle control leads to them needed extra help in getting to and from the toilet. Our bathroom conversion was one of the first things we decided on for nan, it has been a godsend for her and my aunt who helps her with toileting routines.

Gardeners and carers.

My nan loves her garden, birds, squirrels, butterflies and bees. Any wildlife she can get in her garden, she’ll encourage it! Ever since I was a tiny-tot I remember sitting in her conservatory to watch the 100’s of birds fill up the cobblestone pavement in front of my eyes. It was amazing!

She adores her garden and to see it overgrow would break her heart, not something we’re prepared to do! The gardener comes out once or twice a week, along with a cleaner and two carers. It has changed her outlook completely, she can now look out all of the windows and enjoy beautiful views and a conversation with someone.

Luckily my aunt lives only 10 doors down but the physical and emotional strain of living with someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s is horrendous for family members, so we do have carers come in for a few hours every day. It is a great relief to my aunt who is now able to sit and chat with her mum and not have to worry about food, drinks and toileting as much as she has done for the previous months.

 

My nan may be dealing with way more than any of us can really comprehend ourselves, but she whacks on a smile for anyone who visits. Even if she can’t remember us, she’s a very strong woman is my nan. Very prim and proper, always keen to entertain and keep a smile on our faces. Everything was fun when we were growing up. She was an absolute riot when she was with family or at home, honestly the most entertaining and energetic 60-88-year-old you will ever meet. I have gone into more detail as to what my nan means to me over here.

Thank you for sharing this with me, have a brilliant week.

Amy-May Hunt

8 comments on “My Nan – Dealing with Dementia”

  1. It is an awful condition for those suffering and also those around them. My gran also had the same and in the end it became quite heartbreaking to see her deteriorate. I’m really sorry that your nan has to go trough this as it really isn’t any easy condition to live with x

  2. I am so sorry to hear about your nan, it’s horrible when people we love so much start to deteriorate in front of your eyes. It’s nice she’s constantly smiling and hopefully you can carry on making some more memories with her x

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