Honor thy mother and father, even when dementia has been diagnosed

I try to pinpoint when the shift in my parents happened to allow me to help them more. While most days go smoothly, there are still some days when my mom gets aggresive or aggitated and managing through each task is difficult.

My parents have been staying in their retirement apartment and have not taken a cab in almost a month. I’ve been trying to plot out my visits to keep them in their community. However, in the past week, my mom’s gotten feisty over the need to get to their townhouse. She doesn’t remember that we have moved all of her clothes, her framing materials and there are only a few staples in the pantry. The reality is that they are bored and the ritual of going between homes to kill time is still part of their memory.

I’m hoping if I can keep this up long enough, the desire to get back to the townhouse will fade — just like it eventually did for driving.

What I have noticed is that if my mom feels that I’m doing anything outside of the traditional parent / child parameters, she deflects every suggestion. For instance, when we were getting ready to leave to get groceries and nothing was on the list but club soda, I asked if they had bread.

Mom: “Yes we have bread. I told you all we need is club soda.”
Kay: “I’d like some toast before we go, could I make some real quick?
Mom: “Yes, help yourself.”
Kay: “I can’t find the bread, can you help me?”
Mom: After opening up every cabinet, and looking in the fridge and freezer she responds,”Can you put bread on the list? I can’t find any.”
Kay: “Okay, could I have a soda?”
We continue this way until we have a grocery list.

I guess there are only a few things left that make sense to my mom, and keeping her dominion over me will be one of the last elements she will continue to demand. Respected.

4 thoughts on “Honor thy mother and father, even when dementia has been diagnosed

    1. It took me MONTHS to build that into my habits. I will never forget when the Psychologist told me that I was going to have to be “sneaky” given my parents refusal to accept (or inability to understand) the nature of their cognitive abilities. It seemed wrong, but I have learned ways to manage it while be respectful and still guiding things in the right direction.

      Thanks for the kind note!

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