About two days after my last post, I called the Alzheimer’s Association and had a wonderfully informative talk with an advisor from their 24 / 7 hotline. What a great resource! The numbers for those who might need them are:
Contact us for information, referral and support.
I spoke about the dilemma I was facing with my mother – her confusion about where she was going was when it was time to go back to the rest home.
The advisor said that taking her to my house so frequently could in fact be contributing to the confusion because, as we know, Alzheimer sufferers do best when their surroundings stay consistent. However, she was surprised that Mom wasn’t new to the rest home, that it had been 6 months since she first arrived, and hence, enough time to get acclimated to her surroundings, as much as one can with the disease.
Be that as it may, she had three suggestions:
1) Keep mom at the home 6 out of 7 days.
2) When I visit during those 6 days, I must make the visits meaningful, i.e., do something specific with her like play cards, join in on an activity, go for a walk, take her shopping, etc.
3) Take her ‘home’ just one day out of the week.
It has been 10 days and I have not been able to stick to the 6 out of 7 days, but I have done better, taking her here only three times instead of five. I have also made the visits at the home more lively. However, I am finding that mom can do less than I thought. We tried playing cards, and though she used to play every single week, she could not remember how to play gin rummy or any of the poker games.
Our walk to the park where I took Frances was lovely. We watched a young man exercise his Australian Cattle Dog. He had his dog perform many tricks for my mother and she was delighted.
We had a spa day where I took her for a manicure and pedicure. She went through her diaper onto her pants. I had to ask for a towel so that she would not further wet the customer chair. And though she has had a manicure several times, she thought this was her very first. That’s a benefit to the disease. You relive the things you love for the first time over and over again.
But, I have gotten two calls from her this week, convinced it was I this time who needed to be picked up from school. And though she was speaking with me, she was also speaking of me, “Lisa, who is picking up…who’s picking Lisa up from school?”
Again I used Josie and again it worked.
There is no question her Alzheimer’s is progressing. And I’ll get better at trying the suggestions made by the Alzheimer’s Association. It is just difficult not taking my mother to the place she feels most safe and most comfortable. I also find that she can become more delusional when she stays longer periods at the home.
Damned if I do and damned if I don't. There seems to be no right and no wrong to this disease.