“Some days mom knows who I am and some days she doesn’t. I am not sure what to do about Mother’s day. Mom is in a special Memory Care Home. Should I even show up to celebrate? What if it just confuses her more” ~Caren
This is certainly a challenge for Caren and many other families in the same situation. The truth about Alzheimer’s and dementia is that it does not always follow a straight-line progression. So, one day your mother may be perfectly clear. She knows who you are and that you are her daughter. The next time you visit she may think you are her mom or her sister. She could even be so confused that she doesn’t recognize you at all.
And it Is Heartbreaking
The first step is to get a handle on your own feelings. Have you taken the time to grieve the mother you have lost? A lot of people don’t realize that when someone has a disease like dementia it is a time to grieve. The family has lost the person they once knew. Even though the person is still very much alive and you love them dearly. You also are grieving who they once were. And furthermore, you grieve the loss of the future you may have planned.
“I am pregnant!” said Sharon.” And it is bittersweet. My mom wanted a grandchild so badly. But I married late. And then we waited. I was busy with my career and didn’t want any interruptions. Now I am finally going to have that grandchild and Mom does not remember from day to day. She will not be able to do all of the things with my daughter that I envisioned. Things like baking together, going to the zoo and that wonderful trip to Disneyland that we use to talk about. I feel like it is all my fault. I robbed her of that joy.”
Talk to Someone Who Can Help
Find a counselor to work with, talk to your pastor about your feelings or attend a caregiver support group. The Alzheimer’s Association has a list of groups that you can attend. Go in person or attend online. It’s your choice. You will find other families going through the same emotions you are experiencing. Chances are someone else has experienced a similar situation. They not only offer support and comfort in these groups, you may find solutions also.
You Cannot Change What Is
You can not turn back the clock and change what has happened. But you can learn to accept and even appreciate the place where you are today.
“And suddenly you know: it’s time to start something new and trust the magic of new beginnings” ~MeisterEckhart
“Once I learned to let go and enter her world”, said Sharon “I began to relish in the joy of the moment. Mom is so excited EVERY single time I tell her I am going to have her grandchild. And I get to do it over and over again. How much fun is that!”
Furthermore, Sharon said that now that she had stopped making this all about her and what she had lost she began to see what she had gained. “I have so much more compassion”. Sharon expressed “Compassion for everyone I meet. You really never know what people are dealing with, do you?”
So plan a celebration! After all, who doesn’t like a party right? Especially it that party is for them. And if Mom doesn’t remember that she is a mother, it’s okay. Just tell her the party is in her honor to celebrate the wonderful person she is. Have fun. Be in the moment! Bring Mom’s favorite food. Play her favorite music and even dance! Have fun in the moment!
Talk to The Staff At Your Memory Care Home
They may be already planning something special for the holiday. You may be able to join in and help. A party for everyone will take the focus off of you and your mom. Maybe you could offer to do nails for all of the ladies for Mother’s Day. You may even talk with some of the other families who come to visit to see what they are planning. Chances are you are all a bit apprehensive. Joining together with others will feel less isolating. You will realize that you are not alone in this situation.