Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Caring for Mom

To borrow from my friend A.J., I have been a bad blogger lately. Just day to day life is keeping me so busy that I do not have time like I once had. And it seems so much easier to just post a sentence on Facebook and be done. That is the lazy way, anyway.

I also tend to draw into myself when I am upset or grieving about something. My life right now involves grief as I watch my Mom progress in her Alzheimer's disease. Caring for her is a full time job. My biggest adjustment so far is not having any alone time or spontaneous time to go see friends and family or just grocery shop. For 12 years now I have basically been alone and had gotten quite content with it. Now Mom gets up before I do or as soon as she hears me get up. Then at night she will not settle until all the lights are out and she thinks I am asleep. Caring for her consumes almost all of the time that I am not at work.

I have hesitated to blog about life with an Alzheimer patient for fear I will appear to be whining or complaining. As tiring as it is, it is still a great joy for me to care for my Mom and to know that I am doing everything I possibly can to make her last years as happy as they can be under the circumstances. Hopefully my blogging about this will help and encourage someone else. There have been times in my life when it helped me to know that I was not crazy, others have felt the same things.

There are times of frustration but also times of humor. Mom is getting hard of hearing or maybe just can not understand what I am talking about. I, on the other hand, have only one vocal cord and sometimes I am raspy. It makes for some laughs to hear what she thinks I said. And then there are the days that I feel like the movie Groundhog...Mom asks the same questions and I give the same answers. Sometimes I try to come up with a different way to say the same thing. Quite a challenge!


Maury said...

I used to work at a nursing home, and I remember one of my friends would say, Deja vu vu vu vu about a few of the people that would say the same things, over and over again. Your sentence about Groundhog day reminded me of that.

Alzheimer's is such a hard disease to watch. It is hard on the one with it, and so hard on the family living with it.

Just make sure you do take time for yourself, and I hope that you have someone that can help you out from time to time to give you a break. I can't imagine what an adjustment it must be for you. I think it is good for you to talk about it here.

I think it is a wonderful thing for you to have her in your home and care for her. It will probably be one of the hardest things you have done, and will ever do.

So, do you have a stash of snacks, t.v. books...computer in your bedroom so you can pretend you are in bed so you can stay up later and get some alone time?

Ginger said...

Thanks so much, Maury. I do have help who stays with Mom while I work. She also stays about one Saturday a month and my brothers come down one or two Saturdays a month to give me a break. And I do have everything you mentioned in my bedroom. I try to have a little down time after I get in her bed at night. And I have learned that when I need help, it is no disgrace to ask for it!

Miss Teri said...

I was glad to see you blog today. This is such a hard disease for the family to live with especially when you are trying to do it alone. I am glad to see that your family is helping out on week-ends. Do remember to take time for yourself you need to be refreshed so that you do not get sick yourself. I know Mr. Roth wore mother out before she ever let us know how bad things had gotton. Know that I love you and miss seeing you on Sundays but I understand completely. Let me know how I can help, know that I am praying for you and God will give you the strenght, patience, and ability to get through this. Teri

Darnelle Ausbrooks said...

Ginger - You need to talk to Mother. She could write a book about the 8 years she spent with Daddy and Alzheimers. I'm so sorry you're having to go through this and I'll be praying for you. I hope you're not the only caregiver your mom has. You HAVE to take some time for yourself every now and then. I know we probably didn't do this enough for Mother while Daddy was alive and I regret it. Anyway - take care and know that I love you!