My grandmother has lived in the same house for over 50 years. It has changed over the years, inside and out. Even through all its changes, its still home. Grandma’s probably had the same house number for that many years too (lol).
Anyways my friends and I would always laugh that grandma had more of a social life than we did. I always tagged along with grandma when I was younger. She was always on the go. We’d go eat lunch in Tulsa. Sometimes we’d drive down to Okmulgee for whatever reason. She was always going somewhere and doing something. These days she sometimes has the energy to get up and go, but you have to make sure to come back by mid afternoon. That’s usually when she takes her naps but she swears to it, that she doesn’t take naps. Haha but ever since I was little she always taken a nap around the same time.
She doesn’t get up and go like she used to but that comes with age as well. When people ask me how my grandma is doing all I can say is that she’s doing good, just getting older. Boy I tell you what, yesterday she was packed and ready to go. She was excited to hit the road. So that’s always nice to see the spark still in her. Everyday is different. She has had her sassy moments, which sometimes that can be hard. My grandmother doesn’t have a mean bone in her body. But I have had people warn me that with Alzheimer’s they can have the potential of getting mean. So far she’s just sassy and that’s alright. We can all be sassy sometimes.
After I thought about it I took the time to look into some articles. I thought to myself what would I do if grandma got mean?? I know she doesn’t mean it but I found this article on what to do when your loved one starts to become aggressive. https://www.webmd.com/alzheimers/guide/alzheimers-aggression#1
The Alzheimer’s Association also had a helpful page as well https://www.alz.org/help-support/caregiving/stages-behaviors/agression-anger
I’m thankful my grandmother is not to this point. I’m also thankful for articles to help understand Alzheimer’s. My grandma is truly a blessing. I remember when I first found out she had dementia. I would talk with my close friends about it. They were the ones to warn me that she could get mean. One of my friends from up north gave me some advice I’ll never forget.
She said “Jess…. Remember those times when your grandmother gets mean, that’s not her spirit. Your grandmother’s spirit is getting ready for its journey home. Although you guys may not be ready for her to go, her spirit is preparing itself. So at the moments when she’s mean remember that’s not her.” She went on to tell me what to expect and also to remember to pray. She’s in the process of going home…
It’s a lot to process from any aspect… But I give thanks for another day my grandmother is here. Hopefully if anyone is dealing the aggressive stages they find some helpful resources from those articles.
Now that I’m home I can witness everything my mother had once told me about. I lived in Norman for about two years. I talked to my mother and grandmother just about every other day. My mother would tell me how my grandmother would be progressing for better or for worse. She would always keep me in the loop if it was a good or bad day. Some days you could tell my mother just needed to vent.
I’ve been home about two months now and have to come realize what our “normal” routine would be. On grandma’s good days she usually wakes up by 7-8 am. If grandma had a busy day before than she usually sleeps in til 10-11am. Our morning so far start out with her scooting to the bathroom from her room. Another thing I noticed, she didn’t completely walk anymore. She has what I call, the scoot. Some also see it as a shuffle but its when elders come to the point they no longer pick up their feet. At least that’s how it looks to me, you’ll know it when you see it.
Once she does her morning business, she makes it to the kitchen where she starts the morning coffee. Little did she know the days I wake up before I already have her coffee ready. She got to the point she would put too much in and we would get coffee grains in our coffee. So we just went ahead and started making the coffee ourselves. (Lol)
You also have to remember grandma has been independent for years. My grandpa past away back in 2001. So my grandma had gotten used to being by herself. My mother lived with her during all this time but they we’re on their own schedules. It’s been about two years now since my mother took my grandma’s car keys. I’m not sure when it was ruled grandma couldn’t cook anymore. She just can’t do what she used to do.
It’s Friday and its time to enjoy our morning coffee. She’s up and getting ready to start the day. She heads to my aunts for the weekend, which I know she’ll enjoy. I can tell she’s already in a good mood. She’s been laying down the house rules for when she’s gone. All you can do is smile and say, “Yes grandma”.
I always love when my aunt comes to stay. She’s good company but my favorite part is her cooking! Oh man can she cook, my grandma used to be a pretty good cook too. One of my favorites growing up was my grandmother’s meatloaf. Another favorite she used to make was salmon patties, with tomatoes and noodles as the side. My mother is allergic to fish and shellfish. So it was always a treat for us when she went out of town. The reason we had to wait is because it would always stink up the front of the house my mother couldn’t handle it.
Grandma would always yell from the kitchen when dinner was ready. I remember running down the hall from her room as soon as I would hear that. A special dish she would make in the fall was cinnamon apples. You always had to wait til the Johnny apples were just right. I could make a blog about her cooking and all the dishes she used to make. That’s a beautiful thing about grandmothers too…. They’ll never let you go hungry (lol).
Back when I was in college grandma always made sure to load me up with snacks. I always had enough snacks to feed me and my friends. That’s the thing about her too, she was always thinking of others. Anytime my friends came over she always wanted to make sure they had something to eat and drink. She always taught me to tend to your house guest.
Some days I don’t always get to spend time with my grandma. So on those days I’ll tell a story from the past. For the time that I did see her today she seemed to be ok. She got her hair done. She’s always in a good mood once her hair is done. She’s had the same hairdo for as long as I can remember. One of my cousins used to remember her as “grandma with the curly hair” haha but that’s the way he remembered her.
Before she got up to go to her room for the night I at least asked if she had a good day. She said that she did and at the end of the day that’s all that matters. I won’t get to see her this weekend but that’s alright. She’ll have a good time at my aunts. I always look forward to telling her the latest that happened while she was gone. Grandma always said it wasn’t good to gossip but for some reason that woman always had the latest news.
With that being said I’m going to enjoy tonight’s dinner with a tortilla on the side….
A little history over my grandmother. She is 87 years old. Anyone that knows her, knows she’s a joy to be around. She was always helpful and caring. Also let me tell ya… the woman is funny. She’s quick with the one liners, you wouldn’t even expect it. (Lol) I can go on forever about my grandma but this is a good introduction for now.
A typical evening with grandma consist of us watching the evening news, playing Wheel of Fortune, and eating whatever it is for dinner. Afterwards she usually watches anything on OETA, while I go for a run or watch tv in my room. This has been our routine for years. Now some days are different because of her condition so it’s always interesting to see how things play out…..
Last night proved to be something different than usual. We both went to bed around 10 o’clock. I always have to double check to make sure she took her medicine. She has a habit of telling you she did something but in reality, she never did it. So I do my routine inventory check to make sure she’s taken her medicine and that she had put her hearing aids up. I haven’t been getting decent sleep here recently. So I just so happen to be up around 12:30 when I heard grandma get up and out of her room.
All I could hear her say was that someone was knocking at the door. I replied “No there isn’t. I didn’t hear anyone knocking… No one is there.” She continue to hurry past me implying that there’s someone was at the door. I rushed to the front as she opened the door, luckily no one was outside. With that being said I had to check the windows and check the backyard to make sure no one was trying to break into the house. Our neighbors have recently had their cars broken into and you just never know these days what could happen.
After she shut the door, she just figured they had walked away…. Turns out no one was there to begin with. Once the commotion settled down my mother had asked me what happened. I guess I had waken her up while I was checking the windows. That’s when she told me, “Jess there was no one there.”
So it hit me last night as it has numerous times about my grandmother’s condition. After last night I opened the computer and started my research over the effects of Dementia and Alzheimer’s. I first recommend looking onto the website https://www.alz.org . The Alzheimer’s Association has numerous resources. I’ve also included a link that helped me understand the difference between Alzheimer’s and Dementia from the AARP. https://www.aarp.org/health/dementia/info-2018/difference-between-dementia-alzheimers.html?CMP=KNC-DSO-Adobe-Google-Health-Dementia-HEA-DMT-Sitelink&ef_id=EAIaIQobChMI57_i6-DO4wIVhp-fCh2GjwLEEAAYASABEgKto_D_BwE:G:s&s_kwcid=AL!4520!3!344150821138!b!!g!!%2Balzheimer%27s%20%2Bdementia.
After my readings for today I understand just a little bit more than I did coming into this care taking. It’s one thing to say you know someone with Alzheimer’s but its also another thing to experience first hand as a care taker.
Over all today was a good day with my grandmother. Here’s to another day with Hokte a blessing over all. We’ll see what awaits us tomorrow!
Hello my name is Jessica Arkeketa! This first blog is just a little about me but mostly about my focus on the next 365 days. I’m 26 years old. I’ve recently moved back to Sand Springs, Oklahoma. I’ve moved home for a few reasons. The biggest reason was to help take care of my grandma. I’ve been pondering this idea of writing a blog. The following questions pop up….
What would I write about?
Who would care what I have to say?
Anxiety to the max but at the end of the day I will not regret taking the risk of writing this blog. I make it sound like I’m signing my life away to some major project ( lol ) but if you know me well enough 365 days is a commitment. Nonetheless I’ve taken the leap forward.
Like I said previously I have moved home to help take care of my grandma. She has Alzheimer’s and has progressed to the point she needs a constant care taker. My aunts have been staying during the week and weekends to watch over my grandma. But I figured I would help. I truly adore my grandmother and want to make the most of what time I have left. I want to document and enjoy the memories. I’m not sure if I have days, week, or months left with her. It’s a hard subject to discuss but I will always try to see the positives. I’ll be writing about my experiences with her and her progressing Alzheimer’s. For better or for worse this launches my project of Memoirs with Hokte.
Also I know I’m not the only having to go thru this as well. So hopefully this experience will help me or even someone else…