Vidya (name changed) is a doctor whose grandmother (mother’s mother) suffered from dementia. Vidya’s mother and aunts took care of the grandmother, with some support from Vidya. The family finally reached a point when they could no longer handle the caregiving and had to move the patient to a long-term stay facility.
Could you give us background information about the case and the sequence of events?
Granny lived in my city for many years, staying with either my mother, or my aunt (my mother’s sister). The two houses were close by, and Granny would move from one house to the other whenever she felt like.
Granny suffered from a condition called Transient Ischaemic Attacks or TIAs. The first episode occurred when I was in medical school and I remember she was hospitalised. She recovered quickly and was back to normal. This was followed by one or two smaller episodes of shorter duration, during which she inadvertently passed water where she was sitting/lying. Apparently she seemed okay so it was not taken seriously.
Some time later, Granny took ill and started behaving bizarrely. For example, she once smeared her poo over the bed and the walls of the bedroom. We then called a psychiatrist friend who, after evaluating the patient, suggested that it could be a case of dementia.
As her other parameters were alright, we didn’t think it was necessary to take her to a hospital to assess her physical status and do investigations. Of course I did speak to a senior doctor at the time, who said that anyways nothing much can be done for such a patient.
But as time passed, the bizarre behavior worsened. At that time, Granny was living with my aunt, who was in her late sixties. My aunt found it very difficult to manage to take care of Granny on her own
Read the full post here : When you are in the rut of things you can’t think: a doctor-caregiver shares