Memory Care and Still Making Memories

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We are grateful that Chanelle arranged everything to get Grandma M moved closer to us.

Grandma M is getting settled in her new place, much thanks to Chanelle for easing her transition.

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Enjoy fresh air at Grandma M’s new place.
It’s still not easy to visit her.

Oh, she does live close now,
that part IS easy.

However, many (most) of her family and friends do not come visit.
They love her, and care about how she is doing.
But on a serious note,
you never quite know what to expect when a loved one struggles with severe dementia.
Even to admit the reality of what that is, is difficult.  It’s sad.
And at times, it’s baffling.

I think the lack of visitors she receives has many factors:

1.  It’s scary.  Scary to be met face to face with the reality at hand.
She has dementia.  Her brain is dying, and it’s obvious.
She often doesn’t make sense, gets confused,
and struggles with basic life skills like how to use ketchup with french fries.

The Positive Note:
Although she is often scared (who wouldn’t be),
and can be grumpy in daily life…
Oh the JOY she has when she gets visitors!
because, let’s face it… her brain might be shutting down,
but she is still a person, a person with feelings and a heart.

2.  People are busy. 
This part is different for everyone.  Each person that has been in Grandma M’s life gets to decide for themselves if they want to visit her, and how often.  Chanelle, while still living here, visits mom often, daily even.  My dear husband, because he works full time plus some, and still has large family at home, will often do weekly visits with his mom.  The kids and I seem to be on a every other week visit, not for any particular reason cept that is when it seems to work for us.  I am hoping in the summer we can make that into weekly visits.

The Positive Note:  If you have a loved one who struggles with dementia or Alzheimer’s, you get to decide how much time to invest in that person’s life.  Time is for you and against you.  For you, because the person with dementia doesn’t really have a concept of time; against you because we never really know how much time they have left to be cognitive.    Visit when you can, but sooner is always better than later.

3.  What will we talk about or do?
Keep it simple.   I call it surface talk; the weather, what was for breakfast, look at the beautiful flowers, and most importantly, smile.  It will help ease the initial awkwardness.
Things you can do; enjoy a cup of coffee together, go for a walk, look at pictures (that you may want to bring).

The Positive Note:  Just being there is enough, so don’t put any expectation on the visit.

Her condition is heartbreaking but not hopeless.
Grandma M may be different, sometimes barely the person she use to be;
however, she is still a living breathing soul who deserves love and compassion.
She may not remember the things we are doing for her,
but we are still making memories, for ourselves as well as for our kids.
She is still here, can still talk, can still laugh, and can still hug…
what’s more precious than that in life?

playing at Grandma M's memory care facility.
playing at Grandma M’s memory care facility.

 

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One thought on “Memory Care and Still Making Memories

  1. In an odd bit of cousinly confusion coincidence, my dad smothered his french fries in cinnamon butter this weekend. I guess it couldn’t have tasted that bad, because he ate it, right? Who knows? Maybe he’s onto something?

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