Taking a Lesson from Groundhog Day

groundhogdayThis is not my first post about Groundhog Day. When you are close to someone with dementia, they are forgetful and you find that you have waves of repeated conversations, issues, problems and experiences. Now that mom is in her new community, I have more than a dozen individuals that I’ve had extended conversations with in regard to mom’s care, health and habits. I need to patiently confirm with each one that our goal is to make sure what mom is doing brings her enjoyment.

Key issues we are facing:

  • Your mom likes to hang out in bed late in the morning.
  • Your mom is skinny.
  • Your mom doesn’t want to shower.

My mom has always been thin and isn’t even at her thinnest now. For the past decade, she told me she likes to hang into bed late into the morning and I’ve found her there many times to know it’s true. I’m not sure about the showering, but do know that her independent nature and being assisted in a shower are at odds with each other. I shared with the community that my mom enjoys taking a bath, which they can accommodate, so I continue to recommend that option.

It took several months in my mom’s previous community to convey to those caring for her that this is not the life she wanted and our goal is to not extend it by getting her out of bed to eat breakfast if she isn’t hungry, manage around her diet by adding vitamins or supplements, or forcing a shower. I know all of those things help manage other issues we might face: pneumonia, skin tears, cognitive decline–but they feel wrong as a general response to caring for her.

Bill Murray did a great job of making the most of having to live the same day over and over. I’m hoping that I continue to get better at understanding and finding a way to best advocate for mom by having to convey her wishes again and again. Implored.