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melting but not down

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Mum, after a year in care

This is the first time in ages I've woken up at daft o'clock and turned to tea and tinternet. Banishing elderly dog to the kitchen at night has meant no interruptions from her scratching at the bedroom door at all hours. So, to use this time constructively, a few thoughts on how things are going with mum...

I usually manage to see her once a week, mostly with lovely daughter in tow, although I'm less anxious about going on my own as mum is generally in a good mood these days. I don't know whether its the progression of the dementia, steadily erasing old anxieties and gripes, or the settling effect of being surrounded by company and care every day instead of being all alone, or a combination of the two, but mum is a different person to the unhappy, paranoid and fretful old lady she was a year ago. She may struggle to hear what people say to her, but she keeps the conversation going with her own observations on life past and present and often smiles and even laughs when she gets the joke. She may greet our arrival with "can you bring me some money for bus fare" but is easily deflected from her escape plans by a cup of tea and a change of subject. She seems to be interacting with other residents quite well, she is always in the lounge when we go and this week introduced me and LD as her daughter and granddaughter (result!) to a lady in a wheelchair with a vice-like grip.

If you didn't know she had dementia, you might think there was nothing much wrong with her when she's chatty and lucid - this week she remembered, unprompted, that my son used to think that Farmer Christmas was Santa Claus' real name, but then in the next breath she'll ask whether her father is still as grumpy as ever and say she regrets joining up again (she thinks she's back in the WAAFs). The other week we were on our way to the dining room when she decided she needed to go to the toilet - I went in with her and found that the pad she was wearing was soaked and soiled. I don't think she realised. I had to get a member of staff to help as I couldn't work out how the new style pads fitted. Its sad that I don't find such episodes as shocking as I used to.


Clippy Mat said...

Looking back you probably never thought you'd get to this point with your Mum. It seemed so hard on you (and her) when she was still at home. It's good that that stress has gone and now you can enjoy the time she has left to visit and enjoy each other.
Happy for you.

rilera said...

I'm so glad that your Mom is adjusting to things at the care facility so well. It's funny how we adjust to our parent's new 'normal'.

Lily said...

Thanks both of you for your good wishes. Yes, there were times when I thought things could only get worse, instead of better. I'm so glad mum seems to be enjoying, well, not hating, her twilight time.