Friendship


My mother’s friendship is one of the relationships I have missed most since Alzheimer’s intrusion. So many “bridges” have blown up in her little brain so I never know when or if she will make sense. Actually, much of the time she does well following short conversations; other times, I get a “who – what- when – I don’t know what you’re talking about?” That loss, our friendship as it once was continues to sadden me. For me, an overwhelming sense of responsibility in being a caregiver left little emotional space for our friendship; there’s always something to do or something needed to make sure things are right and safe. Right or wrong, that’s just the way it’s mostly been. It has taken a couple years for me to truly internalized the fact that caring for my mother is not my total responsibility. She has other children and we have found someone who works as a companion three hours three to four days a week.

Well, I’m ready to rethink this “caregiver and parental” mode! Personally, those words alone have negative connotations – demanding, rushed, sacrifice, limited free time, and such. I do realize this is a bit negative and selfish, so those of you who email please be kind or just skip the comment on this one!

Yes, I’m thinking a different mindset – one of honor and support, one who is at her side as she ages and assisting her as she journeys this last stage of life, one who is calm. And, one that okay with donuts for breakfast, cake for lunch, and ice cream for dinner. I kid you not, Chrissy loves loves loves sweets. She is eight-three with moderate cognitive impairment, why not have chocolate three meals a day? Okay maybe the chocolate is an exaggeration, often it is lemon or cream cheese filling. And baths wear her out, so it’s not going to be that important she have one so frequently. Yes, I’m already thinking of B12 deficiency, UTI’s and increased cognitive impairment. So we will see how it goes.

A recent post by Dale Russakoff, http://newoldage.blogs.nytimes.com/author/dale-russakoff/, talks about receiving the advice of “just don’t hurry” and how those words helped him identify with his mother’s pace and view of life. I would really like to get there. So, in one effort to pursue a new frame of thought I began researching and found The Best Friends Approach to Alzheimer’s Care http://www.bestfriendsapproach.com/. Interestingly, I already possessed some of their perspectives and exercise many listed suggestions. Who knew!

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One response to this post.

  1. You don’t sound negative or selfish at all. This is a reality, that caregivers’ “free” time is often no longer free, but filled with errands and worries and such. And that is difficult to adjust to. I love the idea of remaining calm… a tough one for me. Thanks for visiting my blog.

    Reply

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