DAY IN & OUT WITH ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE
This is a revised post from May 2014. I hope you enjoy it!
Living a life dealing with Alzheimer’s disease is always waiting for the next thing that will set mom off. Yesterday all she wanted to say was “I want to go home”. Most of you know by now that this is her home for better or worse.This sometimes still gets to me even though I know the reasoning behind it. She wants the old feelings of independence, security and being safe.
We strive every day to make her feel safe, but it is the disease itself that scares her. She knows that she is forgetting more and more. This was brought to the forefront recently because she has forgotten how to use her sewing machine. Something she has done all of my life. I go in and set it up and it never fails that I will hear the incessant beeping where she has gotten it off-line somehow. I found an older model thinking she might have better luck with one that is not computerized, but this hasn’t helped at all. Both machines are sitting in her quilting room with the covers over them. It is sad to walk by and see them there. She had made the comment that she was going to stop taking her medicine, reading between the lines this means: “I am still forgetting and I am scared”.
Today was “perm” day. You may remember these from the 70’s or 80’s. Home perms those smelly solutions guaranteed to bring a curl to your hair. They are so hard to find these days because no one uses them. My mom has gotten home perms for as long as I can remember and I have been putting them into her hair since I was tall enough to reach her head. It is very time-consuming, taking two to three hours to get her head rolled up, putting the solution on, waiting to rinse, putting in the neutralizer and taking it all backdown.
Honestly, I wish I could give her one every day! That sounds crazy doesn’t it? I only say this because of the way it makes her feel. She will be in a good mood all day, feeling beautiful again. I always say she’s just like Sally Field in “Steel Magnolias”. She has worn her hair the same way all my life. Permed, then rolled, and the end product looks like a brown football helmet. She is beautiful!
I struggle these days to find ways of keeping her entertained and still having a life myself. She gets bored so easily that I have to keep multiple things going at once. We have planted an array of flowers for her to take care of, but I need more things to fill up her day. To keep her from getting bored. Things she can do on her own, so I can get some of my stuff finished. If anyone has any suggestions I would love to hear them!