Walk with me as I struggle to help my sweet Mom who is living with dementia. She is ninety-six and has been progressively worsening over the past two years. Really longer than that. My precious Dad was the center of her life, her goal in life was to serve him and to meet his every wish. Don’t get me wrong, he was a hard worker, a very good man who was active in many organizations and church, a leader, but always, unfailing kind and loving to Mother. They had 66 years together, eleven years ago he passed away after completions from heart surgery left him with kidney failure. We all worried about how well Mom would do without him. Their home was on three acres in a small Texas community, about 2 hours from our home. Mom amazed us all. She picked up life, returned to being active in the organizations and church that they had shared. About five years ago we began to notice some changes, her friends also alerted us to little things that they were noticing. After discussions, she accepted our offer of moving here with us. We began the chore of dismantling her home. Even though she was willing to move, letting go was hard. The move was complete three years last November. Her most prized possessions moved here in her room. We saw to it that she had doctor checkups and cataract surgery, she had been neglecting her health, which even so is amazingly good. No medications at all. Unfortunately, she has become progressively cognitively challenged. You may think well this is not as bad as someone who is much younger and has/had many years to look forward to, yes, I agree, but this is where our struggle lies.
I have support, Brady, my husband is a well of patience, help and a deflector when it has become too much. Anita, our eldest daughter took a room in our home a couple of years ago, when she acquired a job close to the house. She is great in providing outings for me, and in patience when I have none. So much has changed, not at all what I expected, but I know that all will work for all of our good. It is so much better having her here rather than worrying about her. So our RV travel is now limited, our adventures taking on a different nature.
She has fallen into the ways of dementia, repeating the same questions over and over again. Her favorite is “Let me know if there is anything I can do to help”, which is repeated anytime someone walks through the room, or makes enough noise for her to hear. I am learning, responding to repetitive questions sometimes drives me crazy, but not nearly so much now. There are times when I just cannot hear it one more time, but she has no idea that I am becoming frustrated or why. I know it is all up to me to react with understanding.
I will be frequently sharing our journey through these dark time as we learn to help each other and bear each other’s burdens.