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My Journey Is Just Beginning

My journey of caring for my mother is just beginning.  Prior to this, I have always enjoyed bragging rights about my mother and her health and mental clarity. She was always independent, and was able to care for all of her needs by herself. Things are slowly beginning to change, as the wheels of time move forward. 

I realized things were not exactly aligned with the planets when she forgot(after 23 years) that she exchanged gifts and cards with me on Mother's Day. Last week she could no longer remember the layout of the house she and my father designed and had built.  Today, she called me to ask me when my birthday was.  I am an only child, and have always enjoyed an excellent relationship with my mother.  Now factors are affecting our communication, not the least of which are her memory and her hearing.  She is still able to maintain a residence in a senior apartment complex, and remembers all of the vital information of her two grandsons, but I wonder for how long.  I am struggling with this "new" mother, as I find I am desperate for the "old" one, who was the walking family historian, the best baker in the world, and the fiercest card competitor known to man.  I am spending more and more time at her home, doing simple tasks, or driving her to and from doctors appointments, that previously she was able to handle by the senior citizen apartment transit.

I am torn between feeling dispair for myself, and sympathy for my mother, who is now unable to raise her arm to comb her own hair, and cannot grasp a fork and knife in her arthritic hands.

I guess I am asking for some advice, and for coping skills that I so obviously lack.

Carol Manning

carolmanning carolmanning 51-55 4 Responses Jun 21, 2009

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Last month I visited my Grandpa. Now he is in Prestige Care Vancouver. Since I was 5 years old my grandpa had dementia. He used to become violent and break things in my home. My parents had a difficult time managing him. Then we heard about Prestige Care in Vancouver. He is adjusting very well there. There are staffs assigned for taking special care for him. We used to visit him weekly.It seems like he is quite happy there.

I am one of three daughters, my mother has been with me from July 2009, my younger sister helped every second week for 11months and then told me she could not cope and would not be helping any longer , my older sister says she can't help but promises financial support which never happens.I have since cut my contact with both of them to a minimal so that I could cope with my task as their gossiping and back stabbing made it harder sadly this measure has worked for my mental coping skills, they phone mom every now and then and carry on as if all is fine .<br />
Mom is a diabetic, with an amputation(right leg) who is incontinent and to make matters worse has debilitating arthritis , has 10% vision and losing her hearing. We have gone through stages of dimetia and sometimes I wonder if I am losing my mind and imagining that she is not mentally there but the next day she seems fine. I have been advised that with the diabetes brain cells are damaged through going into coma's which mom did many times whilst I was growing up.Mom's only real ability is to eat with her left hand.<br />
I am not sure how but somehow I have coped sometimes only just , I also go through sympathy for this mother of mine , she blocks me out ( i suppose her way of dealing with what I have to do). It does not make the experience easier and then I go in complete dispair for myself as I am unable to get a job as I need to look after her( I had just qualified in my career change in Fashion design and manufacture in the month that this all started )I do not pray for an easier life anylonger but the abilities and capabilities to cope with the one I now have. My mother is only 65years old. I thank God daily for giving me my amazing 18year daughter and 17year son who help me look after their grandmother. give me breaks and support and my husband who protects me and loves me even when I have had a horrid day.<br />
it makes me angry as when she was able everyone needed her to baby sit, fetch and carry , many times she would move in and help , she was always fair and her son in laws adored her ,she helped with my sisters step children on a regular basis, when mom needed the family suddenly the step children were not her grandchildren and were told they could not help and every one else decided they had a right to a life. I always used to brag that I had a good strong family and that we would always stand together was't this a great slap in the face, I sadly wish I di not have siblings as their nastiness has only made this journey heavier

I, too, am an only child. My mother, who will be 93 next month, lived alone, quite well until she was 89. We moved her down to Florida to live with us. The past 6 months her short term memory has really declined. She forgets that she has already eaten a meal, and starts fixing herself a sandwich. I'm afraid the time will come when we cannot leave her home alone at all. I really wish I had a sibling to share the responsibility!!!

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