Finding ways to stay engaged with mom is getting harder

drawingI think my mom’s favorite activity now is napping. She has really slowed down over the past few weeks. In hopes of having a visit that didn’t involve me watching her nap, I brought activities with me.

So far I have tried:

  1. Adult Coloring Books. My mother-in-law introduced one to our family when she gave one to my daughter as an activity on our flight to the church mission trip in June. Now I see them everywhere.
  2. Manicure. On my last trip we sat outside and I removed the remnants of the red nail polish she got in early July. As soon as I was done and she inspected my work, she took a nap.
  3. Pictures. While I always have a few pictures from the week on my phone, my mom has a hard time understanding what I’m showing her so I usually pull out her scrapbook and retell stories from our past.

I follow my mom’s lead and try to ensure she is comfortable and happy. It’s all I can do as I struggle with the fact that she continues to live in a state that she asked me to never let her fall into. Many of us fight the angst that we are failing to fulfill our loved ones wishes, while watching them slip deeper and deeper into dementia.

When it’s my turn, I sure hope we have more options on how to manage the lingering end of life when we are no longer leading the life we imagined. Prayed. 

10 thoughts on “Finding ways to stay engaged with mom is getting harder

  1. We found with dad, old family photos began to have less appeal but – in between naps – he loved looking at a couple of scrapbooks I made containing bright pictures of animals and birds (he was a nature lover) cut from magazines.
    He also enjoyed magic painting. I don’t know if you have seen this, whcih is great for when the motor skills are such than colouring in carefully isn’t so easy. They are sets of outlines on a plastic coating (the ones we had were a set of animal pictures and a set of sporting pictures) and you just paint over the with water and the colours come up to show the picture. I remember them as a child but these ones are great because as the picture dries the colour fades and they can be used again.
    Bit of a ramble – because I don’t know how to respond to your last couple of points, other than to say my thoughts are with you.

      1. I have a colleague at work whose mother regularly attends the painting classes at her memory care facility. She doesn’t remember any of it ;), but it helps her stay interactive.

        Music helps my dad. My mom, not as much, and can give her a headache.

  2. I am going thru the same with my mom. She is an hour away in an ALF, and I limit my visits to about 90 minutes. She, too, no longer enjoys old family photos. I suspect it is because she doesn’t remember any of it anymore and it would upset her that she didn’t. Keeping up a constant chatter worked for a while. Now I realize it just gives her a headache. So is just companionable silence the best? Interspersed with a few small discussions here & there? I love my mom….the one she was, the one she is, and the one she will become.

    1. I think everyone is different. My mom is okay with just companionship now, but a year ago, we had to be in motion. It changes and what a lovely way to frame your love. I am one of the few things she remembers and some days she will tell me how much my visits mean to her.

  3. You’re second to last paragraph made me teary. That basically is the heart of it.

    My mom now is only up for short interactions too, with a lot of napping. My best to you…

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