Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Growing Up

Seems to me this is the most grown up thing I have had to do - becoming the wiser adult for my own parent.  Some people call it role reversal, but I don't feel it is exactly that. I am a parent and have raised my child, but this is very different.  I have to stop being the child in this relationship - a lifelong pattern - and constantly struggle with the back and forth of stepping in and taking over, and backing off and just be "part of the family"

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Fingers are crossed - the going is good these last few days

MOW are still in - (for 3 days) - they're mincing the meat for us.  New pill organiser I got for Mum to help her work out what day it is (and me to track her medicine taking) is "sticking" after I went over its workings several times and filled it with her.

We're going to sort out some legal stuff on Thursday - then I'll have everything crossed that the JP will allow us to sign a new Power of Attorney as the old one's lost - of course!

And Friday - unknown to Mum yet -  I have a great homecare service coming to meet her.  Hope she's in a good mood for that.

Lots happening but, as I said to my son, its all only holding things at the bare minimum - we've still got to do the forward planning for residential care.  No-one knows when that will become necessary.

Friday, February 17, 2012

All alone on this journey?

I feel like I am alone on this journey.  Its a curious thing because I know many others are on a similar journey - we share so many of the same experiences, feelings, frustration, etc. And yet, no-one knows my mother in the same way that I know her.  Others know her in their way.  Many people know about Alzheimers, but most people do not know about how her Alzheimers is effecting her, and me, and others who remain close to her.  I know it is important to talk with others about it all, for many reasons: sympathy, other ways of looking at things, ideas, advice, etc.  And yet sometimes I feel I am just pushed and pulled by others' advice.  There is already so much to worry about and NO clear answers or pathway, and yet others give me even more to worry about at times.  But I am the one who sits with her, talks with her, understands where she is this day and why so many things do not apply to her now, and some do.

I need to accompany her.  Usually I do this by taking things as they come up and trying to work them through with her so I can get as close as possible to it making even a little bit of sense for her.  I accept it may not always be this way - I may have to sometime go directly against her wishes and comprehension, but that's not now.  Something about it reminds me of making the decision about putting my dog down some years ago.  People sometimes have strong opinions about when that should be done, but who can really know better than the person who knows and loves the dog?  And knows themselves and their own capabilities.  I'm not really sure why this is a parallel.  Its something about my response to "you should do such and such" from people who are nowhere near the person to whom it is done, and are not in the driving seat of my life.  I know people mean well too, but I can only do what I think is right - and maybe that's what makes it feel lonely.

I've been trying to think of a metaphor that best describes this experience.  In some ways its like those circus people spinning plates.  You have to keep about 6 - 8 plates spinning at once.  If you take your eye off any they'll slow down and fall off, so you need to shift your attention back and forth.  At a more pragmatic level, there are about 10 things to be done (most not simple or easily done - e.g., finding a good  care facility) and the priority of which are at the top shifts. No-one knows what's going to come up next to shift the priorities.  Sometimes the shift is brought about by a worried emotional response of mine to an important development, other times its a cool headed thought through solution.  Its seeing a problem or hazard in its early phase and trying to shove a support structure under it.

And its exhausting - plenty would agree with that!

Doing the right thing by someone you love with this disease is a challenge like no other - I do know that.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The things that Mum doesn't do

I'm trying to figure out what is Mum's real difficulty with Meals On Wheels - bit difficult to work out from afar!  She tells me the meat is tough, she eats some of it, covering it with gravy helps.  And she'd rather eat things she makes for herself. My logical minds says to her, "well just eat what you want and leave what you don't" (cause i don't want her to cancel it).  That's probably no help to her, with her limited available logic.  I know she doesn't like to waste food.   I notice she keeps their meals for quite a few days - I think they're hard for her to tackle somehow.  She's got to try and figure out how to get through them - eat some of the tough meat - without wasting too much.    She says she'd rather eat her own cooking - which is true in that she can cook what she likes, but not true in that she is cooking less and less and not shopping often enough and eating too much rubbish - i.e., sweet things!  So I'm wracking my brain to see if there's a way to fix the REAL problem - that its too hard for her to figure out how to eat Meal On Wheels.  Maybe frozen meals will be better, maybe they won't.

The codes for things she doesn't do anymore are - "I'm not worried about that; that doesn't matter".
Code for:  "that's too hard for me to figure out, so i won't/can't.  Better to not think about it and focus on what's in front of me, or go to sleep in my chair".

Friday, February 10, 2012

Food - no I don't need food

Trying not to be angry now that Mum has just said she's going to cancel Meals On Wheels!  What's the way around these beyond reasoning thoughts again??  Just when you think one of the support structures is in place.....

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Breaking heart

My heart is breaking as my mother's brain is dying from Alzheimer's Disease. The little girl inside of me, who always wants to make sure Mummy is OK, cannot always do that now. The grown up part of me has to take them both by the hand and lead them through this scary and bewildering forest.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Two steps forward and 20 steps back

The forward steps were Meals on Wheels, and getting Mum's hair cut and washed after years!  She looked like her old self (which of course she is not, but I enjoyed that for the day).   The back slide, after that false dawn, is that she's now confusing night and day - thought 6.30pm was 6.30am when I rang yesterday and was in bed.  Its the last "straw" for me supporting her staying at home by herself - my sister and I are now shifting gear into finding a residential facility to move her to. Heaven only knows what bumps and skids in the road that will throw up, but I am now determined (with my heart in my mouth).