Today was the day.
A daughter isn’t supposed to put shirts and slacks together because her mother forgot how. But if her mother has Alzheimer’s Disease, the daughter will.
Today was the day, and I am the daughter.
What can you do when Enemy Alzheimer’s steals a parent’s ability to do things? Here are a few things I’ve learned.
1. Celebrate small victories.
Five years into the Alzheimer’s journey, I am thrilled Mom can still take care of daily needs. I concentrate on the positives, not the losses.
2. Watch for frustration.
Somehow when savoring the victories, I keep my radar sharp for Mom’s frustrations. Frustration can be a sign of many things. One sign is decline. When my dad admitted Mom spent hours choosing outfits, I knew the time had come to intervene. She was exhausted and frustrated.
3. Get some help.
Today a friend and I pared down Mom’s wardrobe—fewer choices, less frustration. We matched and numbered shirts with slacks. Mom may need further supervision, but today we took a step. And gratefully, I didn’t walk alone.
4. Consult professionals.
I keep open communication with assisted living caregivers—have they noticed any changes? Assisted living offers levels of personal care. My parents use the basic services of laundry, cleaning, and meals. Higher tiers include physical and medication services. Mom doesn’t need those services yet. But the time is coming. Soon.
5. Hold on to inspiration.
My parents were members of one church for 60 years, then moved to live near us. Sunday School in the assisted living facility is a source of strength for them. But even more meaningful are the letters and bulletins their home church sends each month. Priceless.
Today was the day for change. Mom’s brain turned the lights off on deciding what to wear. But we don’t surrender to Alzheimer’s Disease. I choose to see it as walking my mother toward a brighter day where the lights never go off, and there’s always Someone home.