At the most recent doctor’s visit, we find my mother’s memory test score is now 23/30. It was 26/30 just a few months earlier. This time she was tested alone. I waited anxiously for her to come out, and wondered if I should strike up a conversation with another caregiver in the waiting area. I decided against it this time; she looked stressed and did not want to meet my eye.
When mom finished her test, she was quite put out –
They asked such childish questions! And so many questions! It’s… nonsense!
What sort of questions, mom? They asked for my name, where I live, where is this place? And they asked if I can remember 5 words!
What were the words, mom? She gave me 5 words, and 3 of the words related to a flower.
Have you done this test before, mom? No, never. I kept telling her to stop asking me this nonsense.
She’s just doing her job, mom. You should just answer her questions. Otherwise she will write on her report you were Uncooperative, Stubborn, Argumentative.
I said the above with a smile. Her anger softened. I did not tell her she had done the test at least twice before.
The doctor was bemused. But he was not happy and in fact quite concerned with her score. The deterioration was much faster than he had anticipated. When he prescribed the skin patch a few months earlier, he said the patch could slow down a 4-5 point deterioration per year to 3-4 points per year. Her score had come down 3 points in less than half a year.
Despite what the score shows, mom is really talking a great deal more since she was put on the patch. Unfortunately, this also means any logical mistakes she makes are becoming much more apparent. She is also becoming more belligerent. Once, she told me she ticked off some children for getting in her way during a visit to a relative’s house. (I was later informed she did it in multiple languages). At a recent hairdresser’s visit, she told me she was feeling very angry inside at the staff taking so long with her, not understanding that a perm needed time to set. On another occasion, I managed to stop her in the nick of time as she was about to scold a stranger for standing too close.
The doctor says she must go to Day Care, and participate in activities there. It wasn’t good enough to read by herself, she needs more stimulation. We persuaded her until she agreed to give it a try. We told her others who were reluctant changed their minds after trying.
So we are reactivating the old referral to Day Care, and hope we can find a vacancy this time. We need to be more active, and not just let things be.