Personal Stories: Swearing like a Sailor

June 27, 2017

My Mom didn't show obvious signs of Dementia until she was about 80. The first way it became obvious was in a change in her personality. She had always been very quiet and reserved, almost genteel. Over a period of months it seemed, she became outspoken, often telling people exactly how she felt no matter how negative or unflattering her words might be. Then along with lapses in memory she also began to swear, a total shift in what her personality had been like before.I had no idea she even had a vocabulary like that! Her memory slipped more and more although the Doctors said it wasn't Alzheimer's. We, my siblings and I, arranged for someone to be at the house during the days. And one of my siblings would spend the nights with her. That worked for a time. We needed to get an aide who was experienced with Dementia. Mom developed Pneumonia and had to be hospitalized. I could hear her yelling and cursing as I entered her ward. That was when I founded her arms physically restrained and the sides of the bed raised. When I asked the nurse why she was restrained they said it was because she kept trying to climb over the safety rails. When I said maybe she needed toileting, they said they had put her in a diaper. (which she hadn't needed at home). I brought her home that day and quickly arranged for another daytime aide with a nurse to stop by each day and monitor her medical needs, which were almost cleared up enough for her to be at a residential facility.

It was hard to find a facility which would address her need for as much autonomy as she was capable of, as well as monitoring her physical health needs. I was not having much luck finding a good place. Ultimately her physical health worsened and we found out she had developed Congestive Heart Failure and her Doctor admitted her to a different hospital. Unfortunately she never recovered from that and died at the age of 89, cursing and swearing up until her last waking breath.

I am 66 and worry that Dementia might be hereditary, although I understand 1 in 3 will get it sometime in their life. At what age is it considered to be early onset Dementia? I would hope I would not have the same dramatic personality change that my Mother did. She died a very unhappy, though colorful woman.

She lived in Northern New Jersey along with my 2 siblings, and I live in British Columbia, which DOES have facilities to accommodate folks with Dementia.

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