Monday was the start of some big changes for my family, as we began packing up my mother’s belongings for her move to a retirement home the next day.
Unfortunately her dementia has progressed to the point where she is very fearful at night after the PSW leaves for the day, and coupled with the safety issues with being alone overnight, made moving a no brainer.
It’s a weird feeling to be overwhelmed with sadness and relief at the same time. These last few years have been very difficult trying to juggle her needs, my dad’s and that of my own family.
Last July my father passed away after his own struggle with Alzheimer’s. Supporting two parents in varying degrees of cognitive decline takes it’s toll. I am utterly exhausted both physically and mentally.
My parents were both very young and vital into their early 70’s but then things started to change rapidly. My dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2016 and by spring 2017 he’d lost his driver’s licence and was moving into an assisted living setting, and I was managing all his personal and financial needs. It felt like some cruel trick, and my father had been replaced by this man I barely recognized, and who barely knew me.
I couldn’t imagine I would be experiencing this again so quickly with my mother. Following a series of mini strokes that have left her with vascular dementia and aphasia, I find things have gone full circle. Life can really kick you in the teeth sometimes.
The one thing that has taken me by surprise, is the feeling of finality with this move, that I didn’t experience with my father. Knowing that I won’t ever visit her and her cat Lulu, in the beautiful home she owns is very surreal. Part of me keeps thinking I’ll wake up and this will have all been a really bad dream.
Unfortunately it’s not. My dad is dead and my mother is now in a retirement home, which will eventually become a nursing home. Just not quite yet.
For now she needs reassurance that everything is okay, and that she is loved. She really is, to the moon and back!