As I’ve contemplated writing this — for a few weeks now, it’s been very difficult to watch the “declinings” that are now a part of Mom’s everyday life.
The month of May brought changes — Eating a simple meal now takes 60 minutes or so…. not because she’s savoring each bite, but because she’s forgetting what she’s supposed to do with that stuff that’s on the thing in her lap (she prefers to eat in her favorite chair). She’s become a little more compulsive with some other things and those tend to overwhelm and take over at the oddest of moments. Getting her handful of pills to her mouth is sometime lost and there’s that look of what’s the next step? But it is what it is. We give directions leaving her dignity in tact.
One thing I have decided to shift in my own thinking as a caregiver during this process. Imagine. We’re on a staircase and with each step, we can choose to go up or down. Despite the fact that Mom’s capacities are declining, that doesn’t mean we can’t take another step up and support her; encouraging, adapting and honoring all that is still there.
The other day, I read a short book to her. A book about Mothers. We read slowly, reliving memories from days long gone. Laughter, smiles and the “light” was back on, albeit too briefly… she’s still there — just on a different step than I was in that moment, but reaching out a hand to hold on as we move forward in this journey called Alzheimer’s understanding that she’s our guide. We’re all learning from her.