The Adventures of Caring for a Mom With Alzheimer's Disease
Intentions. My intentions are soooo good!! My mom's 69th birthday was this past Wednesday!! My intention was to take her to lunch and spend much of the day with her. My intentions were to arrive with armfuls of all of her favorite things. My intentions were that we would have a nice day together.
Reality. My reality wasn't as good. I arrived with all kinds of goodies for my mom. She was in her bedroom and bathroom when I got there. She said she could not find her rings. I waited a few minutes. She never came out. I helped her search for her rings. We could not find them. The last of her "valuable" jewelry she wore were her rings. A mother's ring which I gave to her more than 20 years ago. Originally it had the birthstones of her mother, my brother, and me. Later, we added all five grandchildren, too. She loves that ring, and I didn't have the courage to take it from her. The other, a gold ring with many small diamonds on it. Not positive if she bought that one for herself or it may have given to her by my grandma's best friend. Normally, I can "find" her misplaced things relatively easily. This
time I could not.
She takes those rings off every time she washes her hands. I wish she wouldn't, but she does. I am still hoping they turn up. They could be literally anywhere. Like from a drawer to the refrigerator. I have not turned her apartment upside down yet. It was her birthday. I wanted to do birthday things. After almost a half hour of looking, I shared with her all the goodies I brought. Even Diet Coke and Diet Vernors pop. A couple new pairs of pants. Some ice cream (Stroh's). Lots of her favorite toiletry type items, etc... She was kind of excited. She did not know it was her birthday. When I finally convinced her it was, we headed to Olive Garden for lunch. Sometimes I give her a choice of where she wants to go, but she is not good at making decisions. I knew I couldn't go wrong with Olive Garden.
Before we left, I told the front desk we were missing two rings. They told me to come in later to file an official report. Again, not my intention...just my reality.
Also, after looking at my mom I realized she had not only used eyebrow pencil....but brown eyeshadow on her eyebrows. This might work if you are Bobby Brown, but it was not working for my mom. I had to get some makeup remover and start over. I confiscated the brown eyeshadow. I am confiscating more and more things. Perhaps I should have confiscated her rings much sooner, too.
|Decided Not to Include a Close Up of the Makeup Application...|
trust me -- Her Eyes were extra brown
"Can I have Diet Coke. Is this Diet Coke? Is this Diet Coke? Is this zero calories? Is this Diet Coke?..... Ok, I'll shut up. Ok, I'll shut up....." Mom, it's your birthday, let's try to relax and enjoy it, ok? "Ok, I'll shut up........" Yes, I tried to change the subject. Yes, I answered her questions. Yes, I tried to ignore when she had 3 breadsticks before the food came. Yes, I even texted an SOS to my husband...which brought on one of her favorite questions for the past few years. "Why can't I have a cell phone?" (Yes, she used to have one.) "Why can't I have a cell phone?" Another common "trigger" conversation.
She also again shared the story of how she butters her friend's roll at the American House (because the lady has tremors). She told me this many many times. Perhaps she felt bad that she was not going to be at lunch to help her friend. She was agitated. She was also in a pissy (for lack of a better word) mood. She was looking for things to take home, too. I hid the sugar packets... She wanted the coasters and straws. On the way out, she tried to take several things. Kids menus, business cards, whatever wasn't tied down. She got mad when I told her to leave them there. She didn't believe me when I told her they were for kids.
A few years ago she was like that all the time. Always questioning me, accusatory, mistrusting, confrontational, etc... I was the enemy. She would tell my kids I was "mean" to her. Afterall, I was the bad guy. I took over her finances, got a Power of Attorney, told her I thought she was having memory issues, took the cell phone, told her I didn't think she was taking her medication properly, took away the car keys, etc... All of that and more, gradually over a long period of time... years. She was definitely not happy with me! It was not fun for me either, not fun at all. Thankfully, she is not like this as much these days. However, this day, her birthday, was not going too smoothly. Perhaps the missing rings had triggered this. Perhaps it's just our new normal... I took a lot of deep breaths during our meal. I am sure she did enjoy her food....a lot! After an hour, I was no longer interested in getting her a birthday dessert. I bought her ice cream for later. My "intentions" of a fun trip to the dollar store were not to be. (She loves the dollar store.) She did thank me. She did say she loves me. She does tell me I am good to her. She tried. I tried.
I am not trying to be a downer about all this, but I am trying to keep it real. This is really how she was behaving and this is really how I felt. I figure sugar coating will not bring awareness to those who have not experienced this. No worries, I am over it. I am also used to it.
I got her back to her apartment safe and sound. I went to the office to discuss the missing rings. We also realized they could even be in "The Don's" apartment. I am still hoping they turn up. Truth is, her mother's ring is one of few sentimental things she has. I will be sad if we don't find it. I am still learning...I am definitely not able to always predict or be in control of this. It is too much. My intentions were for her to have a Happy Birthday...my reality is not sure. Happy Birthday Mom -- we will keep trying with good intentions!!!!
|My brother and my niece took my mom to McDonalds on her "Birthday Eve"...|
I received a text message with this picture saying "Live Photo from Mom's Birthday Party"
|The Sometimes Painfully Long Wait for Food|
|She Asked if She Should Smile....I said YES!!!!!!|