Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Neighbourly Thoughts

Back here I mentioned a neighbour who had just been diagnosed with dementia.  He told me about the diagnosis and also that his doctor had been forced to take his driving license away from him. N said that the doctor said how ridiculous it was that he was forced to take away N's license when he was such early onset dementia and he clearly had his faculties at this point. That was last November.

We recently ran into his wife who has put N into an expensive nursing home, initially for a two week respite, but then when N returned home, he said he wanted to go back to the nursing home. He found the luxurious place, $350,000 (bond?) to get into the place plus ongoing fees, a nice place to live and many people who were prepared to hear him talk, unlike his long suffering wife.

We knew they were going on a cruise and the last crunch was then, when there was a possible man overboard situation when N disappeared for five hours. While he is an hour away by car from his home, he is near his daughters who see him regularly and his wife makes the trip to see him a couple of times a week. She thinks she will sell their apartment here and find someone near the nursing home to live. That may be rash if he continues to deteriorate at the speed he is now.

While I used to chat to him and he was a significant presence on the body corporate committee when we were, I can't say I really liked him. He was a know it all, bombastic at times, always argumentative yet he had an excellent memory.  I liked him more after we left the body corp committee and there was no friction between us. We would just chat and he was a gossip and enjoyed passing on news about other people, including the ructions within the body corp committee.

As far as I know, there is no dementia on either side of my family, nor R's, so maybe we won't experience it in our family and so avoid such the extreme sadness, never mind the difficulties, that when a person you know becomes  a person you don't know and who know longer knows you. Already N is not recognising people. Before too long, it will be his own family. R tells me he knows of such quick progression but I don't. I don't know much about his wife but she is Melbourne born and bred. Her father, Brighton born (umm, don't read too much into that. Brighton was not always as expensive as it now is) only died a few years ago and I expect she has roots here in Melbourne and so, as I said, I hope she does not make a rash decision to sell here.

Once one reaches a certain age, one does ponder the future, what might be good and what might be bad. Fatal heart attack in bed at 5am, way to go! Shocking for your loved ones, but you are past caring and they don't have to suffer anything drawn out and lingering.

22 comments:

  1. Andrew I think fatal heart attack is better than dementia

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  2. I think dementia is one of the cruelest of illnesses. The neighbour of one of my brothers was diagnosed recently, and it has been a plummet to the bottom. He was turned violent with it too. Awful, awful, awful.

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    1. EC, truly awful if accompanied by violence. Slow onset must be the worst, where the person is quite aware and normal for most of the time and can actually see the progression of their disease.

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  3. Oh dear all very sad, it's often a slow death hard on the family to see it happening and unable to do anything about it.
    A quick heart attack is a much better way for all.
    Merle........

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    1. Merle, really, it is worse than cancer, which is much more clear cut and treatable or not at all.

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  4. 'Tis very sad. Always is with Dementia. Would be a shame if the lady sold, though she may visit him everyday and wear herself out.
    Drop dead is the way to go, unfortunately we don't have the say.

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    1. Margaret, as you say, we don't have a say in what happens. If you have a partner, you would hope they would do the best for you. A bit worse if you don't and don't have family either.

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  5. That's very sad to become old like this, less for himself then for his family, he doesn't realize.

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    1. Gattina, I think he is actually enjoying his mental deterioration.

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  6. Both my parents kept their own minds until they died, but they didn't live to be even eighty, so I don't know if they would have been okay past that. I don't know about my grandparents at all, except my grandma lived to be 96. I wouldn't like to have my family suffer if I lose my mind.

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    1. River, is seems like you don't have genetic disposition. You will die from very old age, I expect.

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  7. It's the cruelest of all I think Andrew. My over the road neighbour's husband has dementia and is at the stage where he no longer knows his wife. She has sold the house and will move into something smaller and much closer to the care home her husband is in. Must be the worst thing ever for the person you've spent most of your adult life with not to know who you are anymore. I thought I heard that progress is being made towards a cure for this..

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    1. Grace, I religiously listen to Radio National's Health Report podcast and as far as I know, there are drugs that can slow the progression in early stages, but that is about it.

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  8. There was a news item I heard yesterday that the incidence of dementia has reduced by 40% in men in the UK, but not so in women. I am sure you will find the news article online if you Google it.
    My grandfather developed dementia after he was admitted to a nursing home after a fall, and I used to watch my mother have the same arguments with him over and over because she couldn't handle his repetitive stories. It takes a certain kind of person to be able to work in elder care, without getting nasty and abusive towards the patients. In Japan they have found using robotic helpers has worked well in aged care and the patients respond to them well.

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    1. Carol, I heard that too, with the men coming down from a very high level with lifestyle changes. You are right, it is not easy to care for people in that situation. I hope your mother did really understand what was happening and that it was not really him.

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  9. That's scary he would deteriorate so quickly. My grandmother and my mother got some sort of old age dementia. With my mother it was likely a grand mal seizure she had that lasted for hours, and her lovely husband did not call for help, let her have the seizures, which deprived her brain of oxygen for so long its a wonder she lived. But afterwards, her brain was not right. To avoid the embarrassment of a family member who would let their significant other suffer for hours like that, many referred to it as Alzheimer's, but not around me, because I would loudly remind people what really happened.

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    1. Strayer, that is a very interesting story and comes with some very bad karma for your mother's husband.

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  10. A shocking illness. Heart attack the best way to go.

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    1. Diane, truly the best way.

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  11. Sad news about your neighbour but nice that you have established a relationship with your's. My neighbours are all renters and there is a high turn over. It's hard work to keep track.

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    1. Ad Rad, we only know people here because we were on the body corp committee for a few years. Ever thought about that yourself? Thankless job, but you do get to know other owners.

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