Hello. I wanted to give an update on our family. My husband and I are now officially “empty nesters”–with the exception of my mom who lives with us in our smallish 3 bedroom home. This new season has been especially difficult for my husband to adjust to. I know he is grieving, not only the loss of having children in the home, but the loss of not being able to enjoy time alone after work, having dinner together, enjoying conversation without my mom’s child-like interruptions, questions and almost constant need for direction…
Mom’s physical health is mostly good. Her most obvious physical side effect from her Alz. meds (not sure if it’s from Namenda (Memantine) or Aricept (Donepezil)–she takes both) is an almost constant runny nose. Her memory continues to decline, i.e. needs me to help her dress appropriately, brush her teeth, and to be directed where her room, clothes, trash can, bathroom, refrigerator are…She frequently asks “What should I be doing now?”
We made it through the summer with the highlight of my mom being able to participate (all afternoon and into the night!) at our daughter’s outdoor wedding (she even danced!) I can’t express my thanks enough for 2 friends that I invited to the wedding to be my mom’s constant companions, and for 2 other friends that made themselves available to be on-call to come pick up and be with my mom at home if needed. I thank God for a community of friends that care. It just took an unusual amount of mental/emotional effort on my part to plan and then ask others to help us in our time of need.
I am very thankful that mom is still sleeping well and is still continent (with the exception of a few days where she couldn’t make it to the toilet in time and I took the initiative to ask her physician to culture her urine–and found she had a UTI.) I suggest everyone get a plastic “hat” that fits underneath the lid of the toilet in order to collect a urine or stool sample (have you ever tried to collect another woman’s urine in one of those little specimen cups!!?? (Ask for the “hat” at the lab where you submit the specimen.)
Good news: We got a Disabled Person placard for our car. (I requested online, received, then filled out the proper DMV paperwork and mailed it to mom’s primary care doctor to fill out. They mailed it back to me, then we took the paperwork to the DMV…the whole process took over a month. We also took the opportunity to get my mom a “Senior ID” since she no longer has a valid driver’s license.) Even though mom is physically capable of walking up to a few blocks, I realized how much I have limited our activity because of parking difficulties–mom gets becomes easily agitated by wind, heat, sudden noises and other sensory input and becomes easily upset and wants to go home. I hope having the Disabled Person placard will encourage me to take the time to go more places with her (I find myself not wanting to make the effort because of all the times we’ve gone somewhere and then she decides she wants to go home (exceptions are going to Costco, the 99cent Store, and getting a fudge sundae at McDonald’s drive-thru 🙂
I’m sure the placard will become more useful as her physical abilities decline (although I’ve been surprised by how often there are no available handicap parking spaces when we go somewhere—an indication of the increasing “greying of America?”
I guess that’s enough for now, except my wanting ideas for what to do with my mom when we’re home all day…she seems restless and bored:
She has/had no other regular hobbies other than reading..
She watches t.v. and reads for a limited amount of time but then gets distracted and walks away….
She tries to help in the kitchen or do other chores, but then gives up because she can’t complete a task.
Most puzzles and games are impossible.
She doesn’t like being outside or exerting herself in almost any way.
She helps fold towels but ends up finding a scissor and “cuts” all the loose threads (I give her old rags to fold instead, but that gives her minimal pleasure.)
One recent activity I discovered was to take a deck of cards and put one card from each of the 4 suits on a table. I then asked her to make 4 piles with the remaining cards (separated into their appropriate suits.) I asked her to do this in order for me “make sure we have all 52 cards in the deck”.
Any other ideas? What do you do all day with your (physically-capable) loved one? Thanks!