Caring For An Elderly Parent: Don’t Eat The Gingerbread House!

Blog - Pic 116“This is supposed to be the time of my life – the nest is empty; but now Mom needs me.”

‘Tis the season to be jolly! Yes, the holidays are upon us and the decorations are going up! Mom has two little Christmas trees that she’s had forever – one that is “her’s” with decorations that relate to her years of travel with my dad, and one that is “his” (my dad’s) with decorations that relate to him from their travels. There are some really cool items on those trees, that’s for sure.

I got the trees out and placed them in her living room for her to enjoy. She asked me how they got so small  (what?) and wondered where all the ornaments went (what?).  I guess for some reason she thinks someone stole some ornaments – possibly during the move?  During my research on the elderly I’ve read that thinking things are missing or being stolen is a common occurrence. It’s really difficult to trying to explain to my mom that nothing is missing – she just doesn’t believe me. She also thinks the caregivers are taking her pencils – I’m not sure how she’d think that considering she has a million pencils lying around all over the house.

So the other day our son stops by my mom’s to bring her some gingerbread creations that he had made for her – a gingerbread Christmas tree and four gingerbread houses.  He sets them down on her cabinet beside her tree and arranges them like a little town for her (he’s so sweet!). She is so happy to have them and gives our son a big hug. Then she asks him, “When can we eat them?”  We explained that they are just decoration and not edible. She seemed disappointed but still appreciative.

Later that night when I went over to check on her before bed she was still going on about how great the gingerbread ornaments are and how wonderful her grandson is. We chatted for a bit and I did my usual routine of checking to make sure she was situated for the night. On my way out she calls to me and asks, “When were we going to eat the gingerbread house again?”

I’m afraid when I go over there tomorrow the gingerbread tree and houses will be gone! Uh oh!

What I Learned: Be careful what you bring into the house – you can’t be sure what the mind is thinking.





Caring For An Elderly Parent: That Haunting Conversation (Again)

Blog - Pic 104“This is supposed to be the time of my life – the nest is empty; but now Mom needs me.”

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.

Caring For An Elderly Parent: Not Denny’s!

Denny's“This is supposed to be the time of my life – the nest is empty; but now Mom needs me.”

Today we made a major breakthrough with Mom – she went to Denny’s with us! I know, it’s not fine dining or anything but hey, I have an AARP card which gives us 20% off AND 1 dollar coffee after 4 PM. Plus, they’ve got to know us as regulars (I know… sad) and we get great service – how can you beat that? We can all use a financial break now and then, right?

This was the first time in weeks that we’ve been to Denny’s because we’ve been catering to Mom and going where she wanted – but that’s OK, it’s been years since she’s had people around to take her places. I must admit, she has certainly been enjoying herself – did I mention that she loves to eat out? The only place she wouldn’t eat though was Denny’s – I think she had a bad experience at one in Florida. But I finally just said to her that we were going there and if she wanted to join us she could. Well… she didn’t want to go there but she wanted to go out, so off we went!

Before we even got there I knew she’d complain about everything – and she pretty much did while we were there. But when we got home she actually said she enjoyed herself and the experience was a good one. Wow! And here I thought Denny’s would be the one place my husband and I could get away – I know…. sad.

What I Learned: Don’t underestimate a “hungry, I want company, I want to go out” Mom!