Monday "Memories" With My Mom

     A week or so ago the American House where my mom is living had a holiday tree lighting party where there were also going to be craft items made by some of the residents and sold for charity.  My kids happened to be off of school that day, so we popped in on my mom just as the party was about to get underway.  We escorted her down to the main lobby area but could not stay for the party. 
      I decided to give my mom $10 in the unlikely event she saw something she wanted to purchase.  It is interesting that for the past year or so, particularly since my mom has moved, she has not asked me for a single dollar.  She also very rarely asks for any grocery items.  This is very telling to me. 
     On the positive side, her needs are likely being met with regard to food and personal needs.  Her meals are provided and I have a pretty good handle on the items she needs.  However, my mom not asking for money is as unusual as a child who does not ask for candy.  There is a small store with snacks in the American House where I thought she might want to make purchases.  My mom has not been able to "manage" money in years.  I was curious to see what would become of the $10.  That evening, she called me.  I thought she was going to tell me about the party.  She had no recall of the party or the fact that me and the kids had been there a few hours earlier.  I continue to be shocked by how this disease can take away your short term memory so quickly...and yet I shouldn't be because I have seen it first hand...over and over.
    The next visit I made, I was curious to see if she had made any new purchases with that $10 or if I could even find the $10.  After a short search, I found she had tucked away the $10 in a drawer.  This, at least, means she know that money should be protected. 
     On another recent evening, my mom left a message that she needed two new light bulbs.  I was a bit surprised by this, but called her back to find out exactly where she needed them.  She indicated her living room lamp was not working.  I asked her if the "switch" on the wall was in the "on" position when she tried tried to turn on the lamp.  She knew nothing about the switch that needed to be on for the lamp to work (even though we have gone over this before).  She then fished the bulb out of the wastebasket while I waiting on the phone, screwed in the light bulb, and step by step I directed her to go over to the wall and flip on the switch, and then turn on the lamp.  It did work, after all!  Well, she thought I was an absolute GENIUS and could not believe it (this happens quite often with many things...I guess it's not bad for one person in the world to think you are a genius...lol).
     Last Tuesday, after my mother-in-law had arrived from Maine for the Thanksgiving holiday, I took her for a visit with my mom and to see her new place.  We met up with my mom in the hallway on her way back from lunch.  She was thrilled to see us, and thankfully knew exactly who Jackie (my mother-in-law) was.  We visited for a short while.  She indicated again, many times, how much she liked her new place.
     Then, on Thanksgiving day, I went to pick up my mom to have dinner with us.  As you may recall from my previous post, my mom has had her clothes laid out for about 3 weeks for Thanksgiving.  She had also been frequently asking me "when I was going to pick her up"...thinking each day was Thanksgiving.  However, the week of Thanksgiving her asking seemed to stop.  When I telephoned her from the car on my way to pick her up I asked her what she was wearing.  Well, it was not the Thanksgiving outfit she had planned.  I  then told her "today" was Thanksgiving and asked her if she wanted to change her clothes since I would be there shortly to get here.  She was changed and ready when I got there.
     There was lots of confusion throughout our Thanksgiving dinner and gathering.  She thought my sister-in-laws kids were her grandchildren, she repeatedly asked who brought or made the different dishes for dinner, etc...  One particular thing that made my mom unhappy at dinner was that I would not give her a glass of wine.  She glared at me many times and told me "it would not hurt".  Then, she thought my glass of wine was actually hers and that I had taken it from her.  None of this was true, of course.  Luckily, it did not get to be an actual "scene", but I was worried.  Meanwhile, is it tempting to just give her a glass of wine...of course.  Would anything "happen"?  Probably not.  Does she take 15 medications most of which should not be taken with alcohol?  Yes.  Can alcohol cause confusion?  Yes.  Is the confusion worse when you have dementia....oh, yes! 
     I had 15 guests over and my mom did fairly well.  This was her first time back at our house since she lived with me.  She ate extreeemely slow and I'm not sure she ever finished her dinner.  She is very easily distracted.  Also, she did not want to miss dessert so we had to really prod her along so that I could get her back home.  I put together some desserts for her to take with her and had her back to her place by 7:30 pm.  I sat with her awhile back at her place to make sure she was aware it was night time and then left after the Med Team brought her night time pills.
     All in all, still so thankful that my mom is in a good place.  Oh, and she has already started asking about Christmas Eve....Lord help me through the next month!



Jennifer said...

You better make sure that Santa hat is READY!

Cindy said...

LOL - We will see if she requests it -- could be interesting!

Arlene - Caregiver ordinaire said...

Isn't it funny? Money has changed meaning at our house too. I tuck $20 into Mom's purse occasionally and Mom is so happy to have a little money. She then wants to go out and buy dinner for us because to her, that is the highest regard. When I was a kid, we rarely ate out. And when we did, if we had enough money to treat anyone else, we were truly feeling rich that day. it's funny that it doesn't occur to her that she no longer needs money to keep the lights on. :)