Getting into her world…

I think I’ve mentioned before that my mother is beginning to deal with significant memory loss. She is still capable of living in her own unit in the assisted living portion of the care center where she lives–she takes her meals in the dining hall and has her own living/bedroom quarters. She is able to make her way around the area in good shape.

However, if you visit with her very long, you will have the same conversation multiple times–each time being the first for her. When we plan on taking her to events, I have to call and remind her the night before, the morning of, and when we’re on the way…and she still may not remember. Nor does she remember when I call to give her news or let her know I’ve been sick–not always, but quite often. Sometimes she hides her checkbook for safe-keeping…and we have to go through every drawer (and every item in every drawer) in order to find the current hiding place.

And I have found myself having difficulty with this, getting impatient when she doesn’t remember–or (especially) when she tells me that I hadn’t let her know. I want her to be the mother I remember–the organized woman who kept our family schedules running smoothly while my father traveled…the woman who knew where everything was kept.

But that’s not who she is now, and that’s not the world she inhabits any more. She’s in her own unique world, and I can’t drag her back into this one. Trying to do so only frustrates both of us.

A couple of days ago, my husband heard someone on NPR talking about dealing with her mother with Alzheimers and how she copes. She has come to realize that she can’t keep trying to pull her mother into this world, but she needs to enter into her world.

I like that idea…but it’s easier to say than to do!

She’s never going to come back completely into this world, though…and if I want our way on this path to bring healing rather than frustration, I need to stop trying to have my own way and figure out how to enter into her world.