A common thread we face as family members of a parent with dementia is the repetition. For the past few weeks after the cars were removed from my parents home, I face a continued barrage of statements and confabulations along with some very specific demands from my parents.
The location of my parent’s cars is on the hit parade. The conversation basically always follows this pattern:
Mom: “Why can’t you just park the cars in the garage?”
Kay: “When you found out where your car was you paid $800 to have it re-keyed and wrote to your other daughter that Dad was again driving.”
Mom: “No, we didn’t.”
Kay: “Yes you did and we love you enough to pay for the car storage.” (with a smile on my face even)
Mom: “Prove it.”
If you have been in a similar discussion, you learn after the 50th proof point and repetition that you will never win this argument so you need to stop having it.
Several years ago, I started to document things. That documentation has never turned out to be helpful. It’s been denied, refuted and torn up in my face.
While they are still maintaining an independent life, the one benefit is that I can escape from them by not calling and visiting. When I visit they don’t remember, and they have made it clear they don’t need any help.
When the phone rings and it’s one of my parent’s calling, I often want to let it roll to voicemail. If it’s something important, they will leave a message.
Unfortunately, my daughter picks up. I run to get the phone from her hands and she puts up her forefinger and mouths “Wait”. I stand there.
All I can hear if what my daughter says, “Um uh … Yes … No, it was for you … I brought it as a gift for you to go with your birds … I want you to have it … Yes … Good-bye”
I expectantly wait for Carly’s follow up. “Nana wanted to give me back my bird painting because she finished the frame, but I let her know that it was for her. I think we may have to have this conversation a few more times. It’s OK Mom, I got this.” Impressed