Dear Diary,

My grandmother suffers from early stage dementia and it is only since my last visit that I have begun to understand the cultural conditions which stir her awful behaviour of a wicked grandmother-in-law.

She is in her 90’s and until a few years ago, was very active and mobile. She lives with her unmarried son and has a carer visit twice a day. A morning carer comes to wash and dress her and in the evening, her grand-daughter-in-law, who is a qualified carer, comes to cook her food and take care of her evening needs.

My grandmother is extremely mistrusting of her grand-daughter-in-law to the extent that she is fabricating stories because she has no other rational explanation of what is going on.

For my grandmother, she cannot understand why my uncle is paying his niece-in-law to look after her. She comes from a generation that believes this is the grand-daughter-in-law’s duty. Therefore, she believes that this young carer has hustled her way into her home and is stealing from her.

Recently, my grandmother got mugged. She went for a walk down her road and all her jewellery was stolen. She actually believes that her grand-daughter-in-law staged the mugging because she is after all of belongings.  Of course, this is not true and sadly whilst dementia leaves the brain forgetful, it also prevents rational thought. The result, fabricated stories that are quite viscous and hurtful.

I am extremely proud of my cousin-in-law. It takes a very strong person to continue caring for someone that despises you. I don’t think I could do it. She says she sees a lot of this behaviour in her line of work and of course it is harder when the person who is treating you meanly is family but she tries not to take it seriously. However, you can see the damage it is causing. Her own family are fearful that people will start believing my grandmother and tarnish her as a thief.

It is such a sad state of affairs. My independent, strong and courageous grandmother is slowly losing her mind and the help we are offering is just frightening her.


One Comment to “Dementia”

  1. I wonder if your grandmother would feel different if the grandaughter was a blood relation and not an in-law. I couldn’t really keep track of all your -in-laws but I think that could be one of the issues.

    Living to her 90s is quite an achievement, well done her.

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