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Welcome to The Jesson Press. When I was a kid, my father ran a printing business called The Jesson Press, so I’ve co-opted the name of the family biz.

This blog is about becoming and being a full-time caregiver to my mom, who has been diagnosed with mild dementia. She has short-term memory loss and mild cognitive dysfunction. Mild—but enough that she can no longer live alone and care for herself. That’s where I come in.

In this blog, I hope to help others in my situation, or those who might end up in this situation, to deal with becoming a caregiver to someone who has dementia. Why? Because when I became Mom’s caregiver, it was like jumping into the deep end of a pool with a 20 pound weight strapped to my back. I had to learn, and learn quickly, about not just the ins and outs of Mom’s diagnosis, but medication management, Medicare, Medicare supplements, powers of attorney, guardianship, elder law, and much more.

But as the sub-title to this blog says, it is also about occasional assorted nonsense. Anyone who knows me knows I have something to say about just about everything. (And that’s also why some people find me tiresome!) I like a good debate—some might say argument—But I find myself lately intellectually stifled. Part and parcel with caring for Mom. Make no mistake, I am right where I need and want to be with Mom. But I also have a need for intellectual stimulation and hope by posting occasional assorted nonsense, I’ll get that.

So come along with Mom and me on our journey. I’ll try to bring knowledge, humor, nonsense, and above all, compassion to the challenging world of caring for an elder with dementia.

35 comments on “Home

  1. That is challenging but can be a beautiful and educational journey as well. The brain is fascinating. Hugs to you. Sue

  2. What a beautiful story of your struggle with your mother’s health with such positive attitude. Wishing you all the best and remember that, ‘God gives us only that many struggles as he thinks we can handle.’ So trust you’ve immense strength. God bless.

  3. I learned that humour is an effective key to unlocking lost bits of memory and/or changing than agitated mood. I always tried to start each visit with laughter. Many early stories are still retrievable. Ask and you may be pleasantly surprised at the new childhood stories that come to light. I kept a journal and wrote on Dad’s calendar of visits, past and future as a reminder to him that yes, visits did take place. You may enjoy rereading this journal in the future and maybe surprised at how much you, yourself forget! Hugs

  4. Donna Rawling

    I look forward to reading about your journey

  5. wow, that’s wonderful.

  6. Terrell Jones

    Wow this is wonderful…. I look forward in reading more of your journey.
    Thanks!!

  7. My lovely mother-in-law suffered from dementia for approximately 8 years. She passed last October. She was such a wonderful Southern Lady and throughout her journey, her sweetness showed throughout. (Until her undies were being changed, then all bets were off. )
    My husband and I were very involved with her care at her facility. We were able to laugh with her and the other residents. Having a love one with Alzheimer’s is a challenge. We feel that the more involved you are in their care, the more you understand the disease. I look forward to your blog.

  8. As we follow this dementia journey, we are trying to improve the communication path between caregiver and patient. With our patented tech we capture a 2-way “session” between caregiver and patient and the algorithm compares the emotional exchange by capturing all 7 emotions and 32 subexpression in both of them. You can review the video later to see if there was any breakdown of communication, or bad bedside manner. Nice to connect with you.

  9. Tiffany Bearden

    Hi! Love this intro! It’s quite a ride caring for a loved one with dementia. Talk about rollercoaster!

  10. I’m glad for your blog, which I hope to look through later (really busy morning here in the PNW). I cared for my mother-in-law for about a year and a half, and she went from mild demential to Alzheimer’s, and it was a fairly quick progression. I bet you’ve got a copy of the 36-Hour Day on your bookshelf, right? Anyway, I’m sure I’ll be glad to have subscribed. <3 Deb

  11. It’s never an easy thing. I’ve been a professional care giver for 26 years and I see how hard it is for relatives every day. Wise words from someone I really admire are: “there is a way, there is a bridge you can cross to enter the reality of the person with dementia, yes it’s hard to lose the person they were but if you cross the bridge you can learn to love them again as they are now”
    He always brings a tear to my eye and keeps me striving to provide the best care and support I possibly can.

  12. Eugenia Ramage Gruhn

    Thank you for this Blog this will really help people that’s for sure. I have been a caregiver most of my life, I cared for both parents and when they pasted my experience with them landed me a job as assistant director of a dementia/Alzheimer CBRF home, plus I worked in many other CBRF homes. So you can say I have caregiving in my blood. Back in 2003 my husband now, was acting strange which to me looked like a form of dementia since I worked long enough with it I saw the signs. I took him to the doctor and explained what I saw and the doctors told me they didn’t see anything, never sent him for testing or anything. I explained his verbal abuse to me and people at work which sounds like dementia since he doesn’t remember it, NO, NO. He got really bad almost got fired and the guys he worked with wanted to beat his head in. He would be really nice one moment & angry the next and a real jerk. He had no idea why everyone was mad at him or why I was in tears for he didn’t know he did anything. We moved re-located our new doctor when I explained saw it and sent him for testing where they found bad short-term memory loss and start of vascular dementia (many heart surgeries). His family refused to believe this. The dementia progressed really fast so his family refuse to believe that he was living with this dementia for over 7 years. Years went on and they still refused to believe he was sick and now he gets a diagnosis of Parkinson’s, 15 years later, for sure they don’t believe that. So here I am with this man going through this complete body change, his body is turning on him and he didn’t do anything wrong to deserve this. Finally his father saw it since my husband couldn’t remember who his dad was, where he was when we were at his dad’s house, why we were there, has accidents of body functions, etc., when we go out I have to use a gait belt, his dad’s eyes fill up with tears. I think he’s got it now. My husband asks he where is he and we are in our living room watching TV, he asks where am I and I’m sitting in the recliner next to him, he calls my name like a child calls mommy just to see if I’m still there & he’s not alone. He can’t dial the phone anymore, has trouble using the TV remote, can’t follow TV shows (too much talking & people), can’t follow conversations (so can’t be around people anymore), he has hallucinations on the TV and the walls. My husband has lost his life, can’t watch the shows he loves without being overwhelmed & seeing things walking across the screen, can’t have company without having to go to his room after a short time too overwhelmed, can’t go out to any events too many people. We are on house arrest – we go out to eat and when we get home he is so overwhelmed he has to go to bed so we don’t do it maybe once a month. These disease have taken our lives my husbands as the patient and mine as the caregiver. It’s hard but God helps us get through and still have each other. We have been on this journey now 16 years so we can do it with God’s help. Caregiving is not easy but it takes lots of love & time.

    • Francey Jesson

      Oh my goodness, Genie. It breaks my heart that you are and have been going through this for so long. It’s devastating, these diseases, made only that much more horrible with the way your husband’s family reacted. I have no doubt how strong you are, to have been doing this for 16 years. I also have no doubt the amount of love you have. I’m glad that we connected, if for no other reason to support each other. If you ever want to talk or even vent with no judgement and an open ear, message me on FB. I’m here for you.

      • Eugenia Ramage Gruhn

        Thank you so much I keep thinking it will get easier day by day. Who am I fooling? God gets me through each day which I am thankful for.

      • Eugenia Ramage Gruhn

        Friday night we went out with my husband’s dad & sister for a fish fry (we live in WI fish fry’s are big). When we got home my husband told me “That was just too much for me there was just way too many people there.” Which was really strange to me because he was talking really good to the man next to him, carrying on a long conversation without stuttering and seemed to be enjoying himself. When we got up to leave he could hardly walk I really had to hang onto his gait belt his legs were weak and he was out of breath even through he had his oxygen on. His dad loves to go out for fish on Friday nights but he can’t drive at night anymore since he is 89 years old so I do the driving. I have to now tell his dad that we can no longer go for fish because of my husband’s health. My husband’s health now has affected his dad’s life so maybe now his family will (sister) will take his health serious. My heart breaks to have to give my father-in-law this news but it must be done. People just do not understand how these diseases start to affect the whole family in some way or another. Wish me luck.

      • Francey Jesson

        Sending you luck and good thoughts! I can totally understand how too much distraction is exhausting for your husband. My brother was just in town, and the whole family gathered for dinners and etc. I could tell Mom zoned a few times, and fell asleep on the couch almost immediately when we got home each night, which she doesn’t usually do. Take care, and feel free to email me at TheJessonPress@gmail.com if you ever need to just chat!

  13. Kate Potter

    Hi,
    Thanks for the following on Twitter
    I think I shall enjoy your blog. I too look after my mum who so far only has mild dementia, some days when her routine is changed or she is stressed it doesn’t feel like though. It took me a while not to feel angry that the person I loved and knew as my mum was disappearing so I appreciate the above message that mentions ‘if you cross the bridge you can learn to love them again as they are now”. I am now there.
    She lives in a cottage on our farm in the UK so I can keep a close eye but I fear the time when I may need to move her in with us is fast approaching.
    Hopefully we may be able to help to keep each other sane.
    I was told three years ago that I had signs of vascular dementia but then when I paid privately for a comprehensive brain scan I was told that the original scan had been misread. Such a frightening time.
    Genie above, I’m so sorry for you and your husband. So cruel when it hits the young.

    I shall explore this site with interest.
    Thank you,
    Kate

    • Francey Jesson

      Thank you, Kate. Just remember we are all in this together. No matter where we live. We can all support each other.

  14. Eugenia Ramage Gruhn

    Thank you Francey so much for being here for so many people. It is so comforting to know we are not alone. It’s nice to have the support also. God Bless you in your works and in your journey with this disease you also have your hands full. We just need to keep that smile on our face while we are screaming on the inside. The other night in bed I awoke and had thoughts with all of the caregiving I have done I should write a book about it. Write just what I found caregiving really is for it’s not just wiping someone’s butt; it is so much more. The thoughts came flying at me that I could not go back to sleep and some of the things even made me cry for they touched me so much. Then I thought it was silly. I just think people have the wrong idea of what a caregiver is and I just want people to realize that everyone is a caregiver.

    • Francey Jesson

      Write your book! When I first started caring for Mom, I tried my hand at copyediting and proofreading to make money. But it just wasn’t the right fit. Hard to meet deadlines when you get interrupted as often as I do. But I’d be happy to collaborate with you if you like. I’ll give you the cousin rate – FREE! I have had several books that I edited/proofed go to print. Let me know!

  15. I’m currently not a care giver for anyone but I’m looking forward to learning and understanding what I can in case it should arise.

    • Francey Jesson

      Thank you! It is said there are four types of people—those who have a caregiver, those who are caregivers, those who will have a caregiver, and those will become caregivers.

      • My great-grandmother died about two months ago. She couldn’t take care of herself; she couldn’t feed herself, or go to the bathroom by herself. She was almost 100 years old, and lately she wouldn’t even recognize her own daughters. But they took care of her for years. My mom did too, since she had been like a second mother to her. So I’ve seen how exhausting the job of a caregiver can be. So congratulations for being that for your mom, she’s very lucky to have you. And thank you for sharing your journey

      • Francey Jesson

        Thank you for the kind words.

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