Mom does have visitors – in addition to my regular visits, my sister stops by at least three times a week on her way home from work and there are others that stop now and then too.Truth is, though, when dealing with Alzheimer’s and dementia, there comes a time when you begin to feel that visits don’t mean much. If you’re lucky, your loved one will recognize you when you arrive. Eventually they will lose your name (Mom lost mine long ago), then they will lose the relationship (daughter, son, etc.) and finally they might lose any reaction to a visit at all.
Early on they are happy to see you and might remember for awhile that you visited even if they can’t remember your name. As time goes by, you’ll enjoy a great visit only to find that 10 minutes after you left, they’ve forgotten you were there. That’s when you begin to feel like your visits don’t mean anything.I can honestly say I haven’t had that with Mom. Yes, she forgets I was there 10 minutes after I leave but she always recognizes me when I arrive. No, she doesn’t know my name and quite often doesn’t remember I am her daughter but she knows my face and that I’m there specifically to see her. Some day that reaction will be lost but even then, I know my visit will mean something.
There is a gentleman at the home, Ralph, that I have watched progress deeper into Alzheimer’s. Although he is known for cussing and yelling – something my daddy never did – he reminds me of Daddy. Seeing him brings back the memory of Daddy at the nursing home sitting in his geri-chair.At times, Ralph will give me a smile and sometimes respond briefly to my questions. At other times, he is yelling and agitated and it bothers everyone but the reality is that he is in pain. They are constantly adjusting his medication to try and manage his pain. When it’s working, he’s peaceful and naps. When it’s not, you can hear him all over. I hate to see him feeling that way so if he is agitated when I am there, I go over and rub his back and look into his eyes. I think he recognizes my look of concern and he settles into the feeling of the backrub.
Ralph never knew me before I started visiting the home and he never had the chance to know me. When I’m there, though, he seems to know I care so even though we have no history and no future, that feeling makes me glad I took the time with him.That’s why I sometimes wish Mom was closer. I would happily visit every day because I want her to know I care.
|I helped Mom put this puzzle together the other day.|