5.07.2012

Monday "Memories" With My Mom

The Adventures of Caring for a Mom With Alzheimer's Disease
     If you've been following along, you know that I am grateful to have had a recent Florida vacation.  I have decided the "new normal" is not to tell my mom when I am leaving town (but I do tell my brother).  I am afraid it may cause her unnecessary anxiety, and I am always a phone call away.  I remind myself that she is in a safe environment with people looking out for her.  Last year at this time, I would not have been able to take this trip. 
     While I was gone my mom called me only one time and it happened to be while I was at the Magic Kingdom.  Thankfully, it was while we were waiting for the parade to start so I was able to chat with her.  Basically, she just told me she wanted a new pillow.  I guess that will be part of her Mother's Day present this weekend!  This I can handle! 
     Then, at 7 am last Wednesday (I got home from vacation around midnight that same night) I realized I had a voicemail on my cell phone.  It was from "the Don's" daughter.  She said she wanted to hear from me "at my earliest convenience about "my mom" and that we were "starting to get into some serious stuff".  I happened to have a fun day planned with my husband and really didn't have time to call her back right away.  Plus, honestly, I didn't want the call to ruin my day.  I did call my mom to make sure she was in her apartment and ok.  She seemed fine.  It was about 9 am.
     Later, when I did call the Don's daughter back she told me that my mom had been in their dad's apartment and that her walker was parked "near his bedroom".  She went on and on about things that seemed to me to have nothing to do with me or my mom.  Basically, from what I can gather, their dad gets agitated when they tell him to not see my mom or whatever and they don't like his agitation.  While I sympathise with some of her frustration, I think that is exactly what it is.  She is frustrated.  It is a frustrating disease.  I actually think it makes her feel better to use my mom as a target to her frustration.  After I let her talk, I asked her "what she would like me to do".  She said she "thought we were going to try to discourage this".  I told her I have tried.  I have also quickly realized it's not going to work and that there is no real reason to "discourage this".  I told her that I am trying to be understanding, but if there is no health or safety concern to either one of them and if the facility has no problem with them then I don't either.  I also said they both seem to be happy and that I was grateful for that.  She then basically said, "well, now I know how you feel" and ended the conversation rather abruptly pretending to have something to do.  Ugh!  This is hard for me -- and awkward.  The reality is we can't "control" them, and I don't see any reason to.  I think there are other issues going on with her that I can't help her with.
     Today, I went to visit my mom.  I had several miscellaneous things to bring to her that she requested.  When I got there it was her lunch time so I peeked over the balcony and saw her in the dining room.  This gives me a chance to get things situated in her apartment and, more importantly, clean things up without upsetting her. 
     I know I have mentioned in the past my mom's tendency to take (a/k/a hoard) "free things" from restaurants and the like.  Well, she does the same within her building.  She brings back jelly containers, placemats, business cards and virtually anything she can get her hands on.  It is a continual frustration and a part of this disease of her mind that I will never understand.  Nor do I need to.  I can only try to have empathy for her and continue to make her living environment as "uncluttered" as possible.  It can be a challenge, but nothing in comparison to her previous condo residence where we are still in the midst of "decluttering".  Thankfully, my brother also helps throw away things when he visits.  It is hard because if my mom is around it actually "upsets' her if we throw away these prized pieces of paper, empty containers, etc...  It is also amazing how fast these things accumulate.
     Back to today, after tidying up and chit chatting with some of the staff at her senior living complex, I went back to the dining room to see what my mom was up to.  The dining staff told me she had just left.  Upon searching the elevators, hallways, and back at her apartment I was not able to find her.  I believe she may have headed to "The Don's" apartment.  It is a large three story building and I decided not to try to track her down.  I also knew my brother had visited with her yesterday.  She is fine and that's all I needed to know -- I will be visiting again this weekend!! 
Thanks for "listening"!



Washing Out Jelly Containers??????? 

 Instead of cutting scraps of paper, she now tears them.  (Remember, I took the scissors...)

Her medicine cups from the Medical Team and misc "stuff" 

My mom's office!?  Empty boxes are her way of reminding me she needs more
 (i.e. Band-Aids)

Recently found my mom and "The Don" in the movie theatre in her building
waiting for "War Horse" to start
(I haven't even seen that movie yet!)
Between them is a stuffed animal he had given her...
(please don't tell the daughters ;) )


4 comments:

Jennifer said...

The Don's daughter's are real stick in the muds!!!!

Heather (GurleeGirrl) said...

My goodness - these girls are a pain for sure!!! I do not understand why they are being so crazy - There doesn't seem to be any harm being done to either one! You are handling it excellent my friend!

Nancy said...

Sounds like your Mom is comfortable with her "man" friend and as long as its not haring anyone, I say . . . good for her!

Kerri said...

I think you are right about the Don's daughters just being plain old frustrated and taking it out on your mom. Geez, what's the big deal...they like each other. Wouldn't it be nice if everyone had someone? Hopefully you will be getting less calls from them.