I get asked several times a week, and even sometimes several times a day, how my Mom is doing. Caring for my parents is part of my life story.
I am struggling with coming up with a positive answer when I am asked. For my longtime readers, you know that I work to find the positive and usually a laugh in the midst of this phase of my life. It’s getting harder. I wonder if it’s because I’m more attuned to the struggles of dementia. Both for the person with the disease and those around them. Most people just don’t understand the disease and admittedly, it took me a while to figure out how to engage, manage, survive and navigate my visits and care-giving tactics.
My Mom is fading away. Many days now I find her in the activity room. I’m glad the community created a program to engage my Mom and she enjoys it in the moment. I recently noticed that she doesn’t use my name when I arrive but looks at me, smiles and says “Hey, I know you.” I wonder if she remembers my name.
I enjoy our visits. I don’t have to think how to manage around her paranoia. She follows my lead and often asks what to do. On my last trip we cleaned out some drawers and I was able to return about 2,000 trash bags to the community that she had been hoarding. When I handed over the bag, the community staffer smiled at me and asked if I was going to try to get the pill cups on my next visit. My Mom is enamored with those small cups. For another day. Relished.
In reviewing my blog, I found I had written this same header back in February, 2012. I also did a version on a story my brother shared with me when he visited in May, 2012. It reminds me how long this has been going on as well as how quickly I have forgotten so much that has transpired before this point. Survived.
3 thoughts on “Hey, I know you.”
I ended your post with a big smile. I’ve experienced that hoarding from Miss D of paper goods and such from when she lived in the nursing home. She even came home with many of the paper goods she treasured from the nursing home. It’s interesting to see what items have importance to one with dementia. It’s never what we expect.
You’re so right, Kay, about the dilemma of how to answer “How’s your mom doing?” and the reality that most people don’t – and there is no way unless you’ve personally walked through it with loved ones – really understand the journey. Hugs and love to you both.