Saturday, October 04, 2008


Sometime after Aggles gave Mom the news that we'd be helping her move to the memory area, Mom asked Aggles if she could call me. She said "Sure."

Yesterday morning I had gotten down the book that Luci had sent me, How To Care For Aging Parents, and read:

Don't ask your parent if she wants to (go to day care or if she wants to have a particular person care for her), because she'll say no. Gently tell her what is going to happen (and how wonderful it's going to be). Don't make it a choice.

I'd been carrying my phone with me everywhere and was determined to be firm and upbeat and not to cave in and start commiserating.

Mom: I'm not sure you know what the plan is for me here.

Me: About moving?

Mom: Yes! Did you know about that?

Me: Yes, and I'm all for it.

Mom, shocked: I thought you'd be on my side!

Of course I tell her I am on her side. She begs for one more week to prove herself. "I know I can do it. I didn't know I was being monitored." We have a long conversation. I try to convince her that she hasn't been being monitored. I agree that moving is hard, emotionally as well as physically. I ask her if she's seen the new apartment. She says, "No." (She has seen it a couple months ago). I urge her to go look at it. I tell her she'll be closer to everything. That it's on the west side, the side she prefers. That she can still get the newspaper and watch her 8 o'clock shows.

She's been upset lately because she can't read the calendar of activities and figure out when to go where, so I tell her that someone will make sure she gets to the activities she's interested in (music, dance)–not just the ones on her hall. That Sondra will be there whenever she wants, to take her places. We'll work it out so Jill, her physical therapist will play ping pong with her. I tell her I'm putting together a book of photos from my last trip to visit her, and that she'll get it in a few days. I say that I'll be there this Friday and will stay through Tuesday to be with her during the move, and that we're going to have FUN, and make another book of photos during that time.

She laughs a few times, but when we hang up, she's crying. I really feel for Aggles. Aggles said they went out to dinner after that. That was one good thing, because she had wondered whether Mom would be so upset that she'd have to go out and get food or have food delivered.

After dinner Aggles asked Mom if she wanted to go for a drive and Mom said yes. They drove through our old neighborhood and stopped in front of the house Mom had built when she was around fifty–the house she lived in for almost 35 years–and Mom didn't recognize it at all. She still recognizes the house she grew up in as a little girl, though–her mother's house. Fascinating.

Today I want to tell Mom that just because her memory is bad, doesn't make her less smart or charming. (This has been a surprise to me; I thought when one part of the brain went, everything went with it.) But because her memory is so bad, it does mean that she needs more attention and help that's closer by. I'll tell her to relax and enjoy herself. That she can continue to be her own person and live her own life.

I think she needs to be given some kind of job. Coming up with words for their spelling bees, or helping somebody who's worse off than she is (?)

No doubt about it, I'm writing these things to make myself feel better as much as to make her feel better.