• Katie Boer

Dementia Diaries: Word Salad

Dementia Diaries - 02/26/19

I feel like January was a turning point for my mom. For the past two years her speech was confusing with occasional moments of clarity. That clarity has been pretty rare the past two months. Her conversation seems to be completely delusional most of the time now.

Today I picked up my mom and brought her back to my place. Tried to get her set up in a comfortable chair and watching TV while I was making dinner. I don't have kids, but I believe this task is similar to watching a toddler without having eyes on them, while in another room, while your house is one fire... okay, not exactly. But that's what it feels like. As soon as I get her to sit down, she's back up again. Wandering around my house. Picking up items around the apartment, moving them into different locations (it's like a game of hide-and-go-seek trying to find my belongings sometimes). She's comfortable and feels "at home" with me but I feel like I'm peeking out of the kitchen to make sure she's okay every 10 seconds.

I warmed up some dinner, leftover lasagna and made some salad with shrimp and our conversation over dinner was essentially nonsense. Thankfully I remembered to PEEL THE SHRIMP this time. Last time I tried to give her shrimp for dinner she swallowed them whole. Tails and all. Welp.


Thankfully she ate well. Ate most of her food, with some prodding. Conversation with her is always interesting after dark (she's a pretty classic "sun downer") and very seriously asked, "did you see the gas station crying downstairs?"

"Did you see the gas station crying downstairs?"

Nonsense has become a bit more routine these days. When I say nonsense, I'm talking about word and sentence structure. Sometimes I play along, sometimes I ignore and just let her keep going and often times I just interject a 'yea' or mmhmm' when she's especially talkative and I'm not even sure where to begin. This week she has...not..stopped...talking... and it has been all over the map. For instance, driving her back to memory care she stated in three consecutive sentences:

Mom: "I'm sorry I'm such a scared monkey" [I think she recognizes her anxiety sometimes and may have been referring to herself as a "scaredy cat".]
Katie: "Naw you're fine"
Mom: "Boy I sure want to go to D.C."
Katie: "Mmhm"
Mom: "Do you have any concerns about the government legally with the elephants?"

Multiply that by about four hours and sometimes the conversation just makes you want to pull your hair out.

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