I visit my mother weekly at her care home. She is very happy there and, by all accounts, the employees say she does well most of the time. In turn, this makes me happy because I want what is best for her.
As many caregivers know, the roles of a parent and adult child reverse when taking care of the parent’s needs. I am now the one who takes care of making sure she is clothed properly, shopping for necessary items, getting her to appointments, and basically all the things she did for me when I was a child. I don’t find it a burden, but some days are harder than others. Because I am now the parental figure to her, she also goes through rebellion periods, which makes things more difficult for me.
And some days, because of Alzheimer’s, my mom gets confused between the books she reads, the TV shows she watches, and the bits of her memory that still linger. During these days she has elaborate, and sometimes disturbing, “stories” to tell me. These are the days I find the hardest because sometimes her stories make me cry because there is no way I can convince her that the awful things she imagines are not real. Some of the stories have a grain of truth to them, which when she elaborates or adds a new detail I didn’t know, I wonder if it is an old secret of hers coming out after years of being hidden. Alzheimer’s not only messes with the minds of those who have the disease, but also the loved ones who care for them.
It’s hard hearing disturbing words come from a parent, and this is why I pray daily that a cure will be found for Alzheimer’s disease. There is hope with research as is mentioned in this article from The Guardian.