In several posts I wrote about my ‘unofficial mother in-law’, my partner’s mom who has dementia. You are welcome to read more about her in these posts: ‘My Mother In-Law Teacher’ and ‘…hold back the tears in my eyes’. She is 92 and has dementia and is living with her youngest son – my partner’s brother.
Wikipedia.org has the following information:
Dementia, also known as senility, is a broad category of brain diseases that cause a long term and often gradual decrease in the ability to think and remember such that a person’s daily functioning is affected. Other common symptoms include emotional problems, problems with language, and a decrease in motivation. A person’s consciousness is not affected. For the diagnosis to be present it must be a change from a person’s usual mental functioning and a greater decline than one would expect due to aging. These diseases also have a significant effect on a person’s caregivers.
This is an exact description of my unofficial mother in-law’s situation. I met this lady about 12 years ago and the first couple of times I spent with her were the ‘get to know’ visits when my partner’s dad was still alive. When my partner’s dad died about 6 years ago, his wife, my unofficial mother in-law stayed with us for a period of time. It was not an easy visit; besides going through her mourning, she was angry, frustrated and very hateful. This visit is the only time that I hated her mainly due to her mean and hateful comments directed at her sons.
Since that event, she has stayed with us numerous other times with some good visits and some bad visits. But during these visits I have grown to admire her and to respect her and to love her.
I believe the loss of her husband is the break that Dementia had to progress rapidly and to take over – providing a beginning to the end – the start of a long road.
I have no idea when the end will come; as each day mounts, so do her struggles.
My hope is when the end has come and the travel on the long road is completed, she has a sense of serenity and she knows her life was lived with meaning, purpose and accomplishment.
My hope is she will know her life and her dementia that is her long road, has taught me to live life for the moment, have persistence, and never become defeated.