“This is supposed to be the time of my life – the nest is empty; but now Mom needs me.”
So I’m still thinking about getting something for Mom to exercise her brain. I haven’t decided whether or not a tablet is the right tool yet but I’m still going to go look at a few to get a better idea. Someone suggested getting a child’s tablet, but when I researched that online I could only find ones that had very juvenile games. I’m not looking for kids games actually, but more like memory games, quizzes, math challenges – that sort of thing.
I’ve notice more and more lately that my mom is having a hard time with simple words. I can tell it’s frustrating for her because she knows what she’s looking at when she’s talking about it but can’t get the name of it to come to her. For example, when I went over last night she said, “I can’t find my _______.” Of course my first reaction was, “Can’t find your what?” I could see that she was struggling with trying to find the word but it just wouldn’t come to her. Then the hand signals started (I’m terrible at Charades!) and I could see she was getting frustrated. And then she looks at me as if I should know what she’s talking about and says, “You know, my thingy, my ______.
Well I did finally figure out that she was talking about her cell phone. My first thought was that she flushed it down the toilet (again) but then she mentioned she heard it drop by her sofa. I did the usual first attempt at finding a lost cell phone – I called it using my cell phone. Well I didn’t hear her toilet ringing, so that was a good thing, but I couldn’t hear it ringing anywhere, which means she probably turned the volume down accidentally, as she often does.
After looking under, over, and around things, I did finally find it – so all is good! I wonder if playing ‘brain games’ will help at this stage of my mom’s life?
What I Learned: I can finally tell my husband that playing games online all these years is good for me! 🙂
We all know that I am Mom’s primary caregiver, but like all jobs, we could all use a little help. Enter Caregiver #2 – Alameda. We started having Alameda come seven days a week from 9 AM until 5 PM – seemed like normal working hours. Well I quickly realized that those hours weren’t working for me because of my routine with Mom and because of the working hours my husband and I keep.
You see, my daily routine consists of the following: up at 9 AM (there about… I know, bankers hours), put the coffee on, go next door to give Mom her medication, read Mom’s notepad to get a feel for what she’s been doing, refill her juice glasses she keeps in the fridge, check her thermostat, and put out her garbage if needed. Head back home, get our breakfast ready while my husband takes care of business on the phone, discuss our schedule for the day while we eat breakfast and then I head back over to Mom’s to check on her and see if she needs help with her breakfast, and whatever else she may need help with. Then my husband and I would get on with our day, which usually had us travelling and not returning home sometimes until after 5 PM. Well that just didn’t work! My mom is extremely uneasy when she is left alone – especially when it gets dark and she knows no one is on the property.
So I realized that having a caregiver there during the morning routine was very stressful for my mom, as well as not having a caregiver there later than 5 PM. It was also stressful for me. So realizing that, I had to rethink the schedule, talk it over with my husband, and put the changes into play.
The new schedule is now in place with Alameda coming from 11 AM to 7 PM. This has been working out quite well for my mom and me, so I feel good about accomplishing what we intended to do – that is, have a schedule that works for all of us.
What I Learned: Schedules are meant to be changed if it benefits everyone.
I think I may have figured out why my mom goes completely berserk when there are people working in her house – sleep deprivation. And not only that, it probably has a lot to do with her OCD – her routine is completely out of whack. The last few times that we’ve had work done on the house my mom has been so out of sorts. I couldn’t figure out what was going on with her, but now I do.
If you remember my previous posts about how my mom was acting when the workmen were here, you’ll remember how bizarre it was. Well this time wasn’t any different – maybe a little more bizarre. Not only did Mom keep locking the door on them again, but this time she was hearing people knocking in her bedroom and she kept unplugging their power cord.
Not only does Mom hear and do strange things, she just seems to get really wiggy about everything. She calls my cell all day long, she keeps thinking she hears me outside her door when it’s actually the workmen talking (I guess I sound like a male Mexican), she asks about going out to eat every time I talk to her and keeps asking about it even when I tell her we won’t be going out, and then she asks me why I never tell her anything – when I actually have.
The only thing that changes when the workmen are here is the fact that she doesn’t sleep. Her normal routine is to basically sleep on and off all day – lately it’s been mostly on. I can tell that Mom is tired, and even when I try to persuade her to nap she refuses to believe that she is tired. I know if she sleeps she’ll feel so much better.
Well my theory was proved right. Today Mom slept while the workmen were here and she seems so much better. She even said to me that she feels better when she sleeps. I hate to say I told you so, but…..
What I Learned: I’m learning how to “read” Mom’s signs and figuring out a way to deal with them.
I really felt bad for Mom the other day. Her hallucinations seem to be getting worse and I’m having a hard time dealing with them. She seems to have the most hallucinations when my husband and I are away from home for most of the day. Like the other day, I stopped by Mom’s and told her I was leaving with my husband for work and I’d see her when we got home. I’ve learned from past experience that I never give my Mom an actual time that we’ll be home because she will hold me to it.
So on our way home I called our son to see how things were going with him. He just happened to be outside talking with my mom at the time and Mom was questioning when I’d be home. I told our son we’d be home in about 30 minutes, which he relayed to my mom. We did get home within 30 mins but I didn’t talk with my mom right away because we had some internet problems we had to deal with – oh boy, what a mistake.
While I was on the phone with the internet company my mom must have called through about 5 times. Since I didn’t answer she started calling our son’s phone. Finally I went over to her house and asked her what the problem was – why was she calling so frantically? She told me I wasn’t home in 30 minutes and she was worried and then she saw me get into our son’s car and leave. What?! Then she asked me how the party was. Wait…. what party?
She was so positive that I was at her house earlier telling her that we were going to a party. I’ve tried telling her that what she’s seeing and hearing is really not happening, but obviously to her it is real. She truly believes we went to a party and there’s no telling her any differently.
So…. do I go along with her hallucinations? Do I stick to my story and tell her what she saw and heard is not real? Everything I read says don’t tell them their hallucinations are not real – it will just upset them. Yup! That is true. But going along with them can lead to other problems – my mom would want to know why we didn’t take her to the party with us!
What I Learned: Hallucinations are real to the person having them and it’s impossible to convince them otherwise.
I was visiting Mom last night and she was telling me how unhappy she is with the fact that she can’t remember things and is confused about what is going on. It usually only happens when she just wakes up, but considering she’s sleeping most of the day it happens often.
So we started that conversation again about what her options are. She obviously needs help, especially with her medication and some meals. Actually, there are really only two options – move to an assisted living facility or have a home health person come in. We both know that assisted living is the last thing Mom wants – she even said she’d probably die if she moved to one…. YIKES!
Of course my opinion of assisted living and Mom’s opinion differ greatly. I feel, for me, it would be a better situation in some ways because of the social aspect of a facility, as well as meals prepared daily, extra curricular activities, outings, and even a smaller living space to not have to worry about cleaning. Yea…. that’s what I’m all about! Mom, on the other hand, doesn’t want anything to do with socializing, hates any type of game, and is super fussy about her meals.
After talking about how she won’t go to an assisted facility we talked in more detail about having someone come in. Herein lies the problem. What days/hours would we have the home health person come and what duties would they perform? Some days are better than others for Mom but lately she’s been having confused days every day.
Unfortunately I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had a chance to call around and get information for Mom, but now I feel I have to take the time to call. It’s going to be weird for all of us having someone around all the time – we really like our space – but I have no other option at this time.
Who knows? Maybe this is exactly what we all need. Someone to help Mom with her daily activities and someone to take a little pressure off of me. And maybe even my husband and I will feel we can get away more often without feeling pressure from Mom about going away.
Hmmm… can you say Vegas?
What I Learned: You can only put things off for so long, and some changes can be for the better.
Mom has a hard time understanding prices of things – I’m pretty sure she’s still lost in the 50’s. The other day we went to Whole Foods to get her a few things but she just couldn’t believe how expensive everything was. And it was definitely way more expensive than Florida. Yup! That’s California for ya Mom. Even when she bought the exact same items she was used to buying in Florida she would tell me “it doesn’t taste the same – it must be California.”
The other day we took Mom to Dairy Queen – she was craving a cone from there because she used to go to one in Florida but hadn’t been in years. Now that we are taking her everywhere I think she wants to get everything she’s been missing. So we got there and she asked for a “baby size vanilla cone” which, of course, they don’t have because they did away with them in 1990! All they had was a small cone, which she agreed to buy, and pulled out $1.50 from her wallet. Whomp! She nearly fell over dead when she was told “that’ll be $3.89.” Well, as you can guess, the ice cream just didn’t taste like it did in Florida. That’s right Mom, in California they put the price up and take the taste out – damn Dairy Queen!
And I won’t even tell you how much the bill was for the dinner we had – Mom couldn’t believe it. And then she had to argue with my husband about how much of a tip to leave. Really Mom? A couple of bucks? You’re the one who wanted to go there.
I guess we’re going to Denny’s next time!
What I Learned: You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.