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11 June, 2010
Grandma is 88 years old. Her hair is snowy-white, skin wrinkled and teeth all but gone. She is also quite deaf Otherwise she is strong and active, often arguing with my mother over who should mop the floor.
The doctor said she has Alzheimer's disease. In other words, she is senile. It is a sad fact but true.
The one glaring symptom of her disease is that her memory is very bad. She cannot remember things or gets them all mixed up. So she forgets where she has kept things and often will frantically search for them. Then she forgets what she is searching for, which adds to her frustration. When she misplaces her spectacles, she will don someone else's pair and happily go about the house. How she manages to see with the wrong spectacles baffles me.
As much as she cannot remember recent things, she can recall her younger days vividly. She rattles off the names of people she knew then and get my name and other family members' wrong. She cannot remember whether she just had dinner but can remember an event that happened fifty years ago.
Sometimes she can be very difficult. Her being almost deaf does not help matters either. We have to speak loudly for her to hear. Sometimes she says we are scolding her. We shout to say we are not scolding her, which makes things worse. We got her a hearing-aid. She would not wear it.
In between bouts of crankiness, she sometimes seems normal. But this seems to get lesser as her disease progresses. So we do our best to keep her out of harm's way. We lock the medicine cabinet and doors and hide dangerous things from her. It would be disastrous if she swallowed a bottle of pills or get lost while wandering in the streets. The latter has happened before. A kind neighbour brought her home.
It is unfortunate the last years of her life has to be like this, but it is so. We can do nothing but to help her along as much as we can.