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Spouse or Partner Caregiver Forum
5 years ago
It has been 5 years since my
wife, Colleen, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s; 8½ years since she first
reported memory loss to her doctor.
I believe she is currently
nearing the end of stage 5. She started exhibiting some symptoms of Stage 6
years ago, but I don’t believe she’s there yet. She is past her year and a half
long obsession with returning to her childhood home and trying to walk there.
Now, she moves everything in the house, especially kitchen items. She puts them
in her nightstand drawers, in her pillow case, under the bed and the mattress,
and under couch cushions.
This morning I found a cartoon
the shows our current relationship. I haven't tried adding an attachment here before, so I'll see what happens
I don’t know if you ever looked into the GEMS stages of Teepa Snow. The rearranging thing would be the Amber Stage . I just bring it up because I was talking to my neighbor about her mom. She said they have to be very careful with her because she carry’s things around and breaks things. I was thinking , gee that’s weird. Never had encountered it.
But then the next week my husband began picking things up, examining them , and carrying them around. All manner of items: photo frames , books from the bookshelf, curios , socks - all in piles moved from room to room. It certainly keeps me on my toes. I’ve had to eliminate my curio shelf and just pack some stuff up.
It’s sad because our curios and Knick knacks are often souvenirs of our life together. Having them packed up is just another loss. I wonder how long this lasts. Teepa Snow says the sorting is helping them process what things are and calms them. I try to just let it happen and put the stuff away once he has moved on to other items.
I strongly believe, the only way to keep cash and documents safe is lock and key. They can find things you think *nobody* could find. So many theft accusations made, only to find the PWD did it.
Back to OP: My DH with Alzheimer’s did this for a long time, maybe almost 2 years. He’s slowed considerably, but still goes through briefer occasional phases.
When he was “rearranging” so much, I also moved or hid anything that was really special or valuable. No telling where it would end up if it caught his eye. Left some so he would have something relatively harmless to do.
Despite being well hidden/buried in other items or tucked behind etc. etc., he managed to find a lot of them. He rummaged. It was seriously amazing how he found hidden stuff. (My mom was in a facility, same thing with not-valuable stuff , this is very common, according to families).
PWDs can find things later, and better, than we may think.
If you need to keep significant cash or papers safe at home, lock them up, little boxes are not expensive, with key in caregivers possession.
Also amazing was the weird places I’d find things he put away. (I might say hid away, but pretty sure “hiding” was not his plan). Places I thought he could not see or physically access, much less think of putting stuff there. Of course much was found in the trash. Some in clogged toilet. Etc.
It’s so hard trying to anticipate things that don’t make sense to us.
Fortunately, I haven't had to deal with this (yet). She just looks in the cabinets, as if she has never seen that before. Then she looks again. But no moving stuff. Fingers crossed.
I can surely relate to the cartoon.
DW married me because I could cook. I owned a steam iron, she owned a soldering iron and we each knew how to use them. On our honeymoon she drove and I navigated. I had no problem being a caretaker since I had always been the homemaker. Other than nursing the infants I did every aspect of child care.
5 years ago… we were just finishing the refurbishment of the 2 main floors of our new (and 120 years old) house, after almost 1 year of hard work. I was already noticing he was slow but was thinking this was due to the hard time we had, refurbishing the house + working + 5 children aged between 10 and 18 at home.
I did the refurbishment of the top floor alone the next year, because he was so slow…