What the Decline Looks Like


What the Decline Looks Like

In the aftermath of The Car Key Trauma, things are not the same as they were before. She still has anger and resentment toward me, and her overall mood is low. She doesn't smile at me when I go downstairs and greet her in the mornings. But when I give her a hug and tell her I love her, she still responds in a positive way. She's talking to me again, which is positive. But I miss the warmth and humor of our pre-keys interactions. I've been kicking myself for going about it the way I did, directly instead of through subterfuge. I worry that our relationship has lost something we won't recover.

I wanted to describe the decline that I've noticed over the past couple of months. Maybe? I'm not sure about the time frame. These are some of the changes:

  • She has forgotten that some family members have died. And she keeps forgetting after I tell her.

  • She is losing the order of events over the past 10 to 20 years, not remembering how long she has lived in this city or this house, thinking that she used to drive from my childhood home, 1.5 hours away, to see her doctor here.

  • Her short-term memory at times seems non-existent -- repeated questions are much more frequent than they used to be.

  • She often goes a week without changing her outer clothes, though she still does change her underwear. If we're going out, sometimes I lay out a new outfit for her on the bed, and she puts it on automatically, never realizing I did it.

I wonder if this is a new plateau, if we can stay her awhile before it gets worse. My son has a school trip coming up and a week-long camp this summer, and I dread the thought of managing without him.



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You just described my mom! Personally, this stage has been going on for over a year.I find that any time she is physically sick, her mental powers take a dip. She thinks she can still read, but it's painful listening to her trying to share what she's reading. That's a stark contrast to who she used to be. But I ma still her sweet boy/girl (she's never been sure) and the cats are her pretty puppies. Go figure.


Im so glad you've been sharing your caregiving journey. It helps you and others as you find your way through this difficult time. You are strong and courageous! Be with your mom in the moment, for in that moment, she connects with you, somewhere deep inside.


I hope you will find it helps to chronicle the path you're on with your mum. Somehow for me, keeping track of the decline, even tho it was sad, still gave me a sense of control where there was almost none. I couldn't control how my mom would behave and I couldn't control the progression of the disease, but I could control how I kept track of it, and it was important. Thank you for sharing your observations, thoughts and feelings here.