Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Dementia and Follow The Leader

Momma has mid-stage Alzheimer’s.  In her younger years, she was an expert saleslady.  She owned and operated a La-Z-Boy Showcase Shoppe in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and she later became the leading saleslady for Allison Love’s Fine Jewelry in Rock Hill, South Carolina.  Momma sold a lot of jewelry, and Momma bought a lot of jewelry.  I kid her that my inheritance might be exciting if she had not made so many jewelry purchases!
Momma was a leader in her field.  She could entice you to listen to her sales speech, and you would then pull out your credit card so she could close the sale.  You were either walking away with a sofa and matching recliner or earrings and a necklace.  Either way, Momma was good at her job!

Now that Alzheimer’s is changing her life, Momma is more of a follower.  She doesn’t like making decisions.  She doesn’t want to be in charge.  She is happy to allow others to “think for her”, so to speak.  Realizing her inability to process thought, I am happy to accommodate her needs.  She relies on me and my sisters to help with the day-to-day activities that affect her life.  It is always our goal to help Momma feel safe and loved.

Whether leading or following, we all have important roles in life’s picture.  Hope that gives you Something to Ponder.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Dementia and The Little Things

I love surprise gifts.  Christmas gifts and birthday gifts are fantastic.  But a gift in the middle of the cold winter months when I am least expecting one is fantastic.  During Christmas 2013, I decided to surprise my husband with a small gift each day for about a week.  These gifts were placed in a super cute mailbox.   If the flag went up, he knew it was time to “check the mail”.   He received a bookmark, cookies, a gift certificate to purchase ice tea at his favorite lunch spot, and even a book.  It was fun.
If you are caregiving for someone with dementia, don’t forget to offer little surprises. My mother, who has mid-stage Alzheimer’s, loves to be greeted by someone offering a small little gift.  Momma needs NOTHING.  Needing something is not the point. Momma just enjoys the fun of receiving an unexpected expression of kindness. Maybe it is vegan cookies from our local health food store, a pretty pen to work her word search puzzles, a single rose for her vase, or any of a hundred different ideas. Momma just likes being thought of.