So, I now have a mother-in-law with diagnosed Alzheimers and a mother with some sort of early dementia, as yet unspecified.
My father accompanied my mum to the GP on Tuesday and discovered that what my mother had reported back from a phone conversation before Christmas, ie that her difficulties would not get any worse, is incorrect. Was that incomprehension ( most likely) or denial?
Anyway they are going to need some support, albeit from a distance. My dad is, quite correctly, wanting my mum to maintain her routines and keep as independent as possible, but it is clear that the deficits she has suffered in language skills make social communication and even things like shopping difficult at times.
Now that is when the penny dropped. Her difficulties now are not so different to autism and therefore the sort of strategies we all use for our autistic kids, such as regular routines, visual timetables and alternative means of communication can all come into play. She occasionally gets very confused about what day it is, so I just suggested that they actively cross each day off on a calendar, so that the next morning she can see clearly the day of the week. Simple, yes. Obvious, well yes, but perhaps not if you are in the middle of it. My dad found a suitable calendar yesterday and started straight away. I think he will need to be bringing his skills as a former primary school teacher back into practice. Let's hope it helps.
If anyone has experience or tips on helping a relative with dementia, I'd be really interested to hear.
Three notable things:
1. The GP said Son 1 has 'the worst chest infection he had heard for a long time'. Strong antibiotics and inhalers were prescribed and seem to be starting to work.
2. Pressing on with the novel, slowly but surely. The words are coming in short bursts rather than a steady flow.
3. A much better mark for my second OU writing assignment, a film script. Hooray!