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In Response to Jane's post of 7/14/2010 by 1Candice
Dear 1candice - my heart goes out to you! So much loss in such a short time. I hope you are aware of and have given yourself tthe leeway to grieve. Going through the grieving process at the same time as taking on your Aunt's care must be very challenging and sometimes very draining. I hope you're doing things to nurture yourself and "fill back up" in healthy ways as you are drained. What makes you feel good? What are you doing for yourself?
I am caregiving for my parents, but they live in a senior community. Even so, it is so challenging to be with them as much as I want/need to be, enhance their quality of life and ensure they have what they need and want (they have a dog too and he is so important to their well-being (mine too!).
I used to work in adult day care and nursing homes, and what you're describing with your Aunt in terms of some personality changes happens all to frequently. In my experience, people who have strokes often change and do things like cuss when they never cussed before, cry at odd times, get grouchy etc. Is your Aunt having TIAs (mini-strokes)? they can be the cause of dementia.
Hang in there - my Dad has mild stage memory disorder as well, and there are sometimes changes in him (grouchiness, frustration when he doesn't remember things and insisting that he didn't know or we didn't tell him). It's heart breaking. Right now it's only occasional and mainly when he's tired.
One quick thought - does your aunt have any other socialization? is there an adult day center she might go to where her dog would also be welcome? It might help for her to have some enjoyable activities and give you a break as well.
Take care of youself!