Monday Memories With My Mom

The Adventures of Caring for a Mom With Alzheimer's Disease
     It's been a struggle to give my mom the attention she needs.  It seems I'm always saying to myself things like, as soon as Megan's birthday's over or as soon as homecoming's over...  She seems not so great lately.  Definitely not as bad as when she wasn't getting a lot of her services at her senior facility, but just kinda blah and disheveled and tired. 
     I need to schedule some doctor checkups, a mammogram, and probably a dentist appointment.  I also need to color her hair and take her for a haircut.  To be honest, I also need to do most of these things for myself, too.  None of it is fun.  In fact, it's not even sort of enjoyable.  I try to go in with a positive attitude, but the reality is we don't have real conversations, she moves very slowly, and she is easily confused.  I still don't like being my mom's mom...  It's hard to give and give and give.  I know how that sounds...like I am selfish and have no compassion maybe!?  Yet, I know that isn't true. 
     Motivating to do these things when I am already knee deep in my kids "stuff", trying to volunteer at school, attend the kids activities, and have projects that have been hanging over my head at home for years is hard.  Some days, I feel like I am still trying to catch up from the six months when my mom was living in my dining room.  That was two years ago. 
     I also need to do another sleepover at my mom's to see if anything has really changed or improved as far as level of care for her.  I suspect it has improved slightly, but still don't think it is where it needs to be and should be.
     This is what I found when I arrived a couple weeks ago...
The slouching has reached an all time high and my brother and I agreed that I should buy my mom some kind of chair and we need to get rid of the couch.  It offers no support, is too deep seated and is quite old and soiled.  I guess what holds me back from this is the fear that she will still manage to sit the same way in whatever I get for her.  It is also difficult for her to get up from the couch.
On a lighter note, I was happy to find a nice card from my mother-in-law.  Thanks Jackie!  My mom treasures every card (and every envelope)!  For some reason, she also seems to enjoy "writing" on the envelopes as if practicing writing her address.

Once she was safely at lunch, I ended my visit.

Megan went with me chair shopping for a couple hours last weekend.  She was desperate to avoid doing homework and hopeful I would take her to some fun stores, too.  Here are the types of chairs I am thinking.  I don't think I want a rocker or a recliner.  Do any of my caregiver friends or others have any insights, thoughts or recommendations??  I'll take any advice you have!  I feel like Goldilocks picking out a bed...

I think I am slightly hesitant on this because the kids and I would no longer be able to sit with my mom, right next to her, if she doesn't have a couch.  It was also a bit hard getting the pushy furniture salesman to grasp that my mom does not need the reclining features and that she does not have the ability to use the massaging features.  Or that the most comfortable chair in the world is not what she needs.  My mom's situation is not typical.  She does not just need the standard rocker recliner.  In fact, at one store when the guy could not find me exactly what I wanted I was secretly happy because then he left us alone!
This past week when I arrived, my mom was wearing a sweater that was stained.  I put it in the laundry.  Eventually she asked me to help her put this other jacket on and zip it up.  Then, of course, she unzipped it.
She is also desperate for her wristwatch to be the correct time.  However, she fusses with it so much that it gets messed up quite often.  When I looked at it, the stem had been pulled out and it was not running.  She just thought it was the wrong time, but even then she was not sure.  Once I reset and started it, she stared at it for quite a few minutes.  Little things like witnessing this time (no pun intended) and time again makes me sad.

And then I knew it was time for me to go.  Maybe she is not sleeping at night, maybe she is.  If she's tired, I'm going to let her sleep.

     I am determined to give this blog a little more attention in the other areas of our lives.  Perhaps only to prove to myself that I am more than just a daughter and caregiver to my mom.  Even as I am typing this, I am not convinced I will really do it.  If there is anything newsworthy, I will definitely post.  However, if I am absent on Mondays for a week or two it just means I am trying to find some kind of balance... 



Gabe said...

I can't imagine anything harder that being a caregiver to your parent. You are doing all you can Cindy! Keep your chin up!

Jennifer Anderson said...

You're doing an amazing job! Take it moment by moment. And I tend to make small goals as staring at ALL of the to-do's just makes me want to buy ice cream and hide!
And when you're feeling overwhelmed take a brief moment and jot down all the things you HAVE accomplished lately...which I don't doubt it quite a bit! Then celebrate with a moment to yourself. :)

Kim said...

You are NOT selfish. It's a constant struggle and none of us ever achieve total success. I really miss having "real" conversations with my Mom. Most of the time I am used to it but if I am having a bad day or struggling to make a decision I wish we could discuss it. But most days I'm lucky if I get a few random words.
I don't know how big your Moms apartment is but what about a new chair and a small love seat? Then you could still sit by her sometimes. A basic recliner would be ok if she could understand the mechanism but Mom can't so falling is a risk.

Julia said...

Hi Cindy, I had to come over from Yaya's blog to congratulate you. I'm so glad that you won this beautiful giveaway. You really deserve it.

I was thinking the same as Kim, a small chair and a love seat might be a solution. On the other hand, maybe a new chair wouldn't be familiar to your mom and might confuse her. What about a big flat square pillow to put in her back so she can sit straighter. The pillow might have to be taped to the couch so it won't slip. Just a thought.

I'll be following you. I know it's not easy what you are doing.

yaya said...

Your doing such a good job of making sure your Mom is in a good place that gives her the care she needs. I hope you can find a chair solution..does anyone in the facility have any ideas? I'm so happy you won the giveaway and I'm sending it out on Friday! Enjoy!