Monday Memories With My Mom

The Adventures of Caring for a Mom With Alzheimer's Disease  

     Well, after feeling a bit uneasy on my last post, I went for a visit with my mom a few days ago.  Soon after I arrived, I realized my timing was good!!  The elevator ride up to my mom's floor had a posting of the activities calendar, and I noticed a sign declaring it National Cookie Day!! 

Looks Like I Came on the Right Day!

      I was greeted by my mom and one of the CNAs, Colleen.  The staff was busy keeping the residents out of the way of some heating and cooling workers who were doing some updates throughout the building.  Colleen told me "the old Mary is back" and that she is her old "sassy" self (my mom gave her a look when she said that) and eating and feeding herself.  That was good to hear.  I was glad to see my mom was awake!  We talked a bit, watched some TV, and looked at the Christmas decorations.  When I asked my mom if she still likes living there, she said yes but I was surprised that she seemed to indicate that it was hard for her to make friends there.  At least, that is what I gathered from our conversation.  I can definitely see where it would be hard to make a connection with someone on a memory care floor such as the one where my mom lives.  Now that my mom has lived there for five months, I will try to see what I can do to help her make some connections.  I will also talk to the staff for some insight.  The good thing is, there are always people around.  At her assisted living community, she spent a lot of time alone in her apartment, especially the last several months.
Hanging Out Watching TV
     I also asked my mom what she wants for Christmas.  She said "no more wars".  Then, I asked her if she could think of anything she wanted for herself.  She said a "pinkie ring" and pointed to her finger.  I feel bad because I've noticed that my mom no longer has any of her jewelry on.  We were down to the silicone bracelets and a watch, but I've noticed the staff stopped putting them on.  I am sure with her daily showers, it is difficult to keep up with the jewelry off and on so I'm willing to let it go.  I do think she misses "fussing" with the jewelry more than anything.  If you're used to wearing jewelry and then suddenly don't, you feel like something is missing.  There have been so many changes these last few years. Things have become so simplified.  So few personal belongings with her.  Too many changes to list.  Big things and little things...so many things have changed.
     A bit later, it was time to go the second floor for Happy Hour and the National Cookie Day Celebration.  I don't think I have been to a Happy Hour since the day my mom moved in on July 3rd.  I love that they have a Happy Hour every Thursday.  Only five residents from my mom's floor were escorted down to the second floor for Happy Hour.  I am glad my mom is in the group that still seems to enjoy the social activities.  I talked to Tim, a resident who I learned is there for rehab.  I believe he had a recent pacemaker and defibrillator surgery.  He is a talker and very interesting.  He gives me some insights into the residents and seems mentally aware.  For the record, my mom called Tim a "cookie monster". 
     There was Christmas entertainment, a singer/musician and cookies!!  I don't think my mom has ever met a cookie she didn't like.  The hard part is for her to pick one.  (She wants them all!)  I had to leave soon after the fun began.  It is always nice to leave knowing my mom is being looked after and entertained.
Patiently Waiting for the Entertainment
Things are Looking Up!! 

The Gang

     Behind the scenes, I had telephoned my mom's on-site social worker who confirmed with me that my mom did see a dentist and podiatrist in November (after I had inquired about it at our "care meeting").  Apparently, a dentist visit will be made once/year and podiatrist once/three months.  This is what I was told is covered by insurance.  It used to be more than that, but I don't know if things change because my mom is now in skilled nursing.  I will add that to my list of things to look into.
      I also have a list of items to discuss with my mom's doctor.  Over these last few months, I have learned that I no longer have an Area Agency on Aging care manager.  They used to check in with me on my mom's behalf at least once/month to see how my mom was doing and report any needs or changes.  Everyone is helpful, but they definitely don't spell things out for you when you first move in.  It appears that many of my old responsibilities are now handled by the nursing community staff.  However, I still need to remain vigilant and proactive in overseeing things.  I am still learning my way around the staff and how things work, who handles what, and who is best for my mom, etc...  That last hospital visit was kind of a reminder that I have to be careful not to get too complacent.



It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas...



Debi B said...

In case you wonder who I am...I am Danielle Haberstroh's Mom...
I was wondering, why don't they just leave the rubber bracelets in her, even during the shower, they just have to dry the off too. Maybe that would make her feel better!
I pray for your Mom and you all the time...
My niece is going through this with my sister and she still has her at home, I don't know how she does it....
God Bless....

Kim said...

Well, this was a good post. Your Mom even looks stronger. You know, I bet she misses The Don. Although she probably can't express it anymore, he was a familiar face and voice that is now absent. Didn't they used to eat meals together sometimes?
My Mom never wore jewellery before she got sick. But then she became like a crow -- anything shiny or sparkly and she grabbed it!! I also had to slowly remove the jewellery from her. Its true, it all comes down to simplifying everything. Its a shame really, but it becomes necessary.

Kerri said...

It made me sad to think about your mom not being able to put some jewelry on. I know it's such a little thing...but sometimes it just makes us feel pretty. I'm guessing there's not any alcohol involved in this Happy Hour!

Jennifer said...

Cookie Happy Hour! Yes please! Aunt Mary looks great! SO good!

Decor To Adore said...

Cindy I was thinking of you and your mom this morning.

May you find love, joy and peace this Christmas Season and health and happiness in the New Year!

You are a blessing to many including myself.