Living with dementia


This post has nothing to do with writing, other than I might use my experiences in a book one day.

When my first (and only) book was published, I dedicated it to my mother. Sadly, she was not able to read the dedication, or understand what it meant to me.

I love my mother, but we’ve had our ups and downs over the years. When she was diagnosed with dementia, I figured it would take a long time for her to be affected by the disease. I was wrong. There were signs of forgetfulness, but it didn’t seem like anything more than an eighty-eight year old woman might experience. After a horrific weekend where my husband and I were summoned to Mom and Dad’s home three times, it became evident a nursing home was the only answer.

Mom has been in a full-time care facility since the end of September. Dad moved to an independent living apartment in the same facility. I have to say that knowing my parents are in a good place has taken a load off my shoulders. I visit several times a week, and talk to Dad on a daily basis.

Before my parents moved to their current location, things between us had become stressful. They wanted to live with me, but my husband and I knew that was a bad idea. Convincing them was a tough sell, but things came together on that horrible weekend.

Dad called today to tell me that Mom had a rough day. She complained about the nurses and begged for him to take her home. This isn’t the first time, but it hit Dad hard and he needed to vent. My father is not the venting kind of guy, so you can imagine how hard this was for me, especially knowing my husband and I are leaving town for a week.

As hard as it is for me to watch my mother go from a strong, independent woman to a lost soul, it’s even harder for my father. He and Mom have been married for sixty-two years, and she no longer remembers his name.

Dementia is a horrible disease, but that didn’t stop God from using a negative to produce a positive. Things had gotten very stressful between Dad and me. Without going into detail I’ll say that it wasn’t good. Nine months later, Dad and I are both different people. Our focus has changed from self to help; from me to us. I don’t like what’s happening to Mom, but I’m grateful that God has opened my eyes and my heart. I don’t know how much longer my parents will be with me, but for however long that might be, I’ll be there for them.

Mom and my daughter. 6/22/2012

 

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3 Responses to Living with dementia

  1. Larry Baden says:

    Very moving. Nicely done.

  2. Larry Baden says:

    Is the young woman in the photo a movie star? Did she come to see your mom?

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