It has been just over a week since my mother moved to her new residence and fortunately I was allowed to visit her several times during this transition period.
Wearing all the protective gear was definitely a new experience for me and it took her a little time each visit to realize it was me. With a mask, face shield, gown and latex gloves, even in an air conditioned place, it gave me another level of appreciation for the front line workers who have to wear this gear all day long. To say it was uncomfortable and hot is an understatement.
The hard part during this time is that you have to visit either outdoors or in a large open area and sit 6 feet apart. The weather right now in July is brutally hot with the last week with temperatures over 35 with humidity most days, so outside definitely not an option. So large group space it is.
During our most recent visit she looked more relaxed and was smiling, which was great to see. The previous one she’d been up all night pacing the halls and was so exhausted she wouldn’t even get out of bed for meals.
Thankfully that wasn’t the case this time.
There was another man at the far end of the room with his son. My mother turned her chair to face them part way through our time together, and kept trying to engage in their conversation. I caught snippets of their discussion about times long ago. The son corrected his father a few times, and then seemed to give up and hung his head and simply listened.
Their interaction reminded me of the early days of trying to talk with my own father. He had classic Alzheimer’s and his short term memory was severely impacted.
One of the things I struggled with the most around him was figuring out what things to say and what not to say. Now here I am with my mother, and once again I find myself feeling that same internal conflict.
In the end you can only do your best. One thing I have found with both my parents is that dementia brings with it an ever-changing set of moods. Some days are good and some are not. I’m still learning to let some of those hurtful comments roll off my back, but it’s a work in progress, but I’m cautiously optimistic!