Journey Through Dementia

Journey Through Dementia

Tuesday, June 6, 2017


My mother and I spent an hour looking at each other yesterday, with occasional brief conversation about how beautiful her floral arrangements were and who is that strange man in the picture on her dresser (her husband), but really there was absolutely nothing to talk about.  She wants to know what I'm doing that's exciting and, in truth there is nothing on my calendar this week, so I had nothing to tell her.

I'm going to have to get better about making up exciting stories for her, though I did tell her that I have an upcoming radio interview about the summer season in Sacramento and her response to that was "Oh?  Aren't those flowers beautiful?"

I would have suggested that we go for a walk in the garden or something but (a) it was hot out and (b) she was barefoot, so I figured that could be a suggestion for a later, cooler date.

But actually, I am encouraged to see that the move to memory care seems to have been good for her.  With increased contact by the staff, she can't just lie in her bed all day any more and that seems to be a good thing.  She's not exactly a social butterfly, but I she does seem brighter these days.

Her laundry hamper is still missing.  They told me to label it (it's rather unique looking so I'm not sure why it needs to be labeled), but by the time I got back with a Sharpie, it had disappeared and I have not seen it since.  But I also didn't see any dirty laundry lying around.  

When I left her, I met with Jen, who is in charge of memory care (technically it's called "life guidance," which seems a strange euphemism).  She actually acknowledged having received my email (be still my heart) and she asked me if I had been given a copy of the assessment on my mother done by "the other side" before she moved in (no).  She gave me a copy which I read before seeing my mother.  I had a few question about it, so we met after my visit and I found her delightfully forthcoming.  She also gave me the web address for a SurveyMonkey questionnaire about my mother's background and her likes and dislikes.  Presumably this will help them set up some sort of a program for her.

But my big question was about laundry and she told me that the staff does the laundry, so I'm off the hook after 4 years.  I am not sad about that.

I let her know where I have put her supply of Depends and pee pads and mentioned the odd places where I'd found the used ones in her old apartment when we were cleaning up (the oven?).  Jen said she found them stuffed between the mattresses in her new place.

The other interesting thing was that in her old apartment she had necklaces that she laid out on her dresser and kept fiddling with them to make sure they were in a straight line.  When I decided to take her jewelry box home to prevent pilferage, I left a small box and a few things in it and I noticed that box is now opened and two more necklaces are now laid out on top of the dresser.  She doesn't wear them, she just arranges them.  I wish I knew what that was about.

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