Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Alzheimer's Association Brain Tour

Very interesting if you would like to know more about the anatomy of your brain and how it works.

The Alzheimer's Association Brain Tour

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Who Cares -- the Dotty's of the World Won't Remember Anyway

 I love this article.  Reminds me of when I took Lily on the cruise and was given grief by a family member who thought it was a waste of money because she wouldn't remember it.  I also like Bob DeMarco's comment,  "How would you like to be treated when you become a Dotty?"

Who Cares -- the Dotty's of the World Won't Remember Anyway

Monday, August 16, 2010

Always Smiling

I was helping Mom into her PJ's the other night and she looked over at her dresser and said,

"That Ryan!  Whenever I look at him, he is always laughing at me."

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Picking Tomatoes

Here is a picture of Lily picking tomatoes in the garden which is in the middle of their pod of rooms.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday the 13th

Stopped by to see Mom this morning and found her room empty.  I could hear the group nearby in the activity area discussing Friday the 13th and other various sayings and superstitions.  I was somewhat surprised to hear how often Lily offered her opinion or asked questions.

Below is just a small sampling of the conversation.

Activities Coordinator:  Peace on earth and good will to all men.

Lily:  Why don't they say good will to all women?

Activities Coordinator:  That is a good question.  Peace on earth and good will to all women!

Activities Coordinator:  What should you do when you drop a coin into a wishing well?

Lily:  Go in and get it.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Many Faces of Lily

Smiling, talking, cheerful as she visits with the ladies at her table.

Silly, glib,  touchy feely as she passes staff in the halls.

Singing, laughing, focused while participating in various activities.

Confused, agitated, questioning  where I am.

Scared, sad, depressed  wondering where she is.

Searching, seeking, wanting to go home.

The many faces of Lily the last couple of months in her new home at a nearby retirement home in the Memory Support Center.

When I was asked, "How is Lily?" back when she lived with us I never quite knew how to answer that.  I find myself in the same position now.

Lily is at any given moment in a different place.  Because of her cheerful and easygoing nature I would say she is for the most part happy.  As long as she is occupied and kept busy, life is good.  Unfortunately in a facility that is not always the case.  Between activities and meals there is down time which finds most of the residents in front of the TV.  Lily may wonder back to her room where she sorts through her clothes and sets them out because, of course, she is leaving in the morning.  Yes, that behavior continues just as she did at our house.  Always-- wanting to go home.

I usually visit every day.  Often in the mornings or afternoon I will find her either watching TV with the others or in the activity center singing old songs.  The few times I have come in the evening she is either sitting with one of the aides or already in her bed asleep which can be as early as 7:00pm.  No wonder they tell me she is often up by 5:30am.

Lily comes back to our house frequently for hours or the day.  She settles in like she has never left doing all the same things she did before--dishes, folding clothes, dishes, sweeping, reading the newspapers, dishes, taking walks with me, and more dishes. (Did I tell you she loves washing dishes?)

When I take her back she will ask why I am turning in there to which I responds, "Oh I have an errand to do."  By the time we get inside she only wants to know when I will be back to which my standard reply is "later."  Less is more in the Alzheimer world of communication. 

In some ways I feel Lily has more stimulation there because of  the activities and conversation with other ladies and staff.  She also has made many friends among the staff and has quickly become a "favorite".  But at the same time I know nothing replaces the security and love of home among her family.  I know she does not get the same level of attention I give her at home.  I might find her (and have) in 4 shirts and 2 pair of pants.  Her pockets are always stuffed with all her make up and toothbrush so "nobody takes them."  Her make up, hair, and dress are rarely done to my satisfaction.  But overall I know she is looked after and in a safe place and taken care of by people that care for her and are looking out for her.  I realize too that the level of control I had with my mother is less but that is probably a good thing for me and maybe for her too.

I do know most of the time she likes her room and am hoping through time as she becomes more familiar with the place she will relax and feel that she is home.  While living with us for 3 years she never called our home her home but she did eventually become very comfortable there and felt secure.  If she finds that where she is now I will be happy and I suspect so will she.

Even though it is quite obvious to any of us who enter the facility that it is a nursing home, if you asked Lily, she would never admit to that.  I find that very perplexing as many of the other residents seem to accept that and understand that is where they are at.  Not Lily.  Is it denial or simply the disease.  Or a little of both. Mom was always very good at blowing things off.  "Who cares if I can't remember that. (like my father's name)  When I can't remember a chair is a chair or a tree is a tree then I will worry."   And you know she is probably right.  As long as she is in no pain, feels good, and is happy, that is what it is all about.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Ponce Inlet

View from the pier at Crabby Joes which is just north of Ponce Inlet where we are staying.

Quick Update

I miss my blogging and had hoped to get quickly back on track.  Life somehow gets in the way.  After my last post I had out of town company and soon as she left we immediately left for Florida to do some work.  We worked HARD for the first week getting everything in order for a new tenant.  Dan & Ryan are back home and that leaves just Emily and myself along with 2 cats and 2 dogs for the rest of the week to just relax as we finished the last bit of work we needed to do this morning.

Ryan visited with Lily as soon as possible on his return taking her out to dinner.  He said she was in a great mood laughing and joking around with him.

My neighbor Anne had taken Lily out for ice cream at Graeters early in the day and called me to tell me mom's glasses were missing and she had searched her room high and low without finding them. I called my sister-in-law Paula to ask her if Lily had them the day before when she had taken her out to a old movie playing at a local theater and she said yes.

So Ryan searched her room for me before dinner and called to say he was unable to locate them either.  After dinner I encouraged him to look again and especially behind any pictures.   Voila!  Glasses found. He also found her TV remote which has been missing for the last week.

Lily and I are very fortunate that we have friends and family willing to come to visit with her and take her out places while I am away. Obviously this is wonderful for her but also very comforting to me.

Thank you dear friends and family!