We just got back from a trip to visit family and friends in Utah. As I am able to visit my mother often I see her getting older and as she does she seems to be loosing more and more of her cognitive abilities. She doesn’t have Alzheimer’s or dementia, but we have noticed a marked decrease in her short term memory. That means she doesn’t remember little tasks that we have to think about all day long. For her it means not remembering if she has taken medication, not remembering how long she has been wearing the clothes she has on, not remembering if she has washed her sheets, or when she last cleaned her house. I am understanding where a lose of short term memory really is a problem. Most of her day to day things we have set up so she can be independent. My sisters bring her food or take her shopping or out to dinner. My niece cleans her house for her. She gets lots of calls to check on her, to make sure she is safe or has taken her medications. When we were there one of my sisters noticed the sweater she was wearing was quite dirty. So she asked mom if she could wash it. Then my sister noticed that moms bed linens were not looking that great, so she stripped the bed and we washed it. Mom looked a little upset until I told her that it wasn’t good for the environment to just wash one thing, and then she was okay. Her house looked fabulous when I walked in (thanks Courtney), but now we will have to be doing laundry for mom.
The other thing I saw when I was there was how much she loves her little backyard garden. She was so pleased that her children had worked on it for her. Lynne bought a new rose bush and planted it in the corner, she also planted herbs after she had taken out all the matted grass. I noticed mom had a cut rose in a glass on her table. That is when I decided that we need to make sure she always has flowers in her garden. This fall we are planning a trip to visit again. I am hoping that I can plant some daffodils, tulips and other spring flowering bulbs. We can change up what is in there according to the season. I am hoping that she will be able to go out and cut a flower to put in a vase for most of the year.
My sister told me a story about how irritated my brother is by mother repeating the same five stories over and over again and he wanted my sister to make mom stop. I was pretty steamed over his attitude. I guess he has forgotten all the hours that mom listened to his childish conversation. I wonder if she ever thought to her self, “if he tells me that one more time I am going to scream”.
Mother took care of us and raised us by herself. I am happy to be able to help with her care now that she needs me. I wish I was closer so that I could do more of the day to day things. I don’t mind that she repeats herself. I try and steer the conversation so that we can talk about her childhood and I have heard some wonderful stories about her growing up years. She repeats those as well, but that way I won’t forget them. It is as if she is telling me what is most important to her. I suppose I should write them down.