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Hi everyone, just a little rememberance for my Mom who passed away 4 years ago today. It is true that life does go on, but in a different way. There is an empty spot in my heart that no one can ever fill again. I hope she knows how much I loved her and would go back to being her fulltime caregiver, if that could bring her back.I have no regrets in being her caregiver. It was hard work, both physically and emotionally, but I would do it again in a heartbeat. If you love someone, please, please tell them before they are gone. My only consolation is that I believe my Mom is in heaven with a God she loved with all her heart and all those that have gone there too!. Peace to all....
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I spent 10 years working as an activity director in a long term nursing home. It is a little world all in its own. I as activity director talk to the resident a great deal. We talk of death and the passing of some of their friends. We started a memory day when a resident passed. We would take a wreath with a black ribbon it and place it on the resident bed. Other resident wanted to go in and pay their respect to their friend that had passed. The nursing staff was very upset with me for starting this memory day. I told the nurses that the resident said that they all knew when one of their friends had passed. They stated it hurt them that everyone wanted to just act like nothing had happened. They felt it made them feel like they did not matter. Like it was just expected and it was no big thing. I thought it was very healthy for them to be allowed to grieve. My memory day lasted for a few short months then was stopped by nursing because they did not want to grieve. It was just too hard for them to deal with.
Grieving is allowing oneself to accept the loss and honor the love.
Grieving is allowing oneself to remember and honor the memory.
Grieving is allowing oneself to let go of one hand and take hold of oneself.
Melinda... so very well said.

I had the Grandchildren here when DH died... but they were so used to the various emotions... they knew we were able to grieve and miss, and also to laugh and cherish.

It is so important that we are each able to express whatever emotions are there in the moment.

my love to you,
Alison
Hi Melinda,
You've mentioned that you worked in a long term care nursing home as an activity director. Did you work with Alzheimer's patients? I'm curious to know if you found it difficult to get them involved in activities? I realize it would depend upon the stage of the disease, how that would impact their ability to be involved. My mom has never been one to really socialize much. She had her small group of friends, but when living in assisted living, hardly ever participated in events, just a very few.Now, she has Alzheimer's and is living at my sister's home and she refuses to go to day care and I am just wondering when the time comes and she needs to be placed in a nursing facility, if she will participate? Just wondering what your experience is with Alz patients, if any....thanks in advance,
Miriam
MIMI
That�s a great question. I did activities for all 125 residents. Alzheimer�s patents were my favorite resident to spend time with. My activity department was open with the typical nursing home activities you know bingo social club arts and crafts. The one on one activity is what set us aside form other programs. We had one staff person that went room to room all day long every day for those that would not come out. I never got a state deficiency in my ten years and was very proud of that. My mom also has Alzheimer�s and when my sister day cared her it almost killed her. She also was not social before and wouldn�t eat there. I do not day care her now. Activities have to be geared to that individual person with Alzheimer�s. Each on is different as their interest are. Mom and I are looking into a lift van this summer we want to take more trips to the park and the zoo. I am tired of pulling the wheelchair in and out with every stop. We need to make taking a trip easier that is her favorite thing to do. She loves to go out to eat. Go to her brother homes and to the wall mart. She likes old musicals and church music. She was not one for games much .She was a hard worker all her life and like me that is what make her happy. I will put her up to the table and put some clean clothing from the dryer in front of her. She will not really be able to fold them but she will work with them for a while. I will put some mail in from of her and she will start to fumble through it and start talking. She will water my flowers with some help. And she loves to sit outside on the patio. When she could stand longer I would let her dust use the swifter. I would put plastic dishes in the sink and she would wash the dishes for 30 min. she love it. It made her feel good about herself. I will also at times let her do the mixing when I am cooking.She will smile and just come alive. She use to sew and I will give her fabric to mess with. My Mom hallucinates at lot. I do not know why and her Alzheimer is very advanced. The one thing that will bring her out is music she loves to sing. She just does not sing she still carries the harmony part. She also like to dance she was a dancer and we will waltz together or wheelchair dance she likes that too. She also will use some hand instruments while the music is playing. Be creative to what she likes to do. So many elderly people are bored to death this is where I talk of quality of life. They need stimulation they need the sunlight just as we do. If I had my way I would have an activity person come twice a week just to play with her. Oh that�s right that is what my grandson does for her. When he is here she will not take her eyes off him. She will laugh at what he does and get upset with me when he gets into trouble. One day he got into real trouble and was throwing a fit on the couch. She started giving me what for because he was crying. Of course her words were not right but the tone was. I started to laugh at this circumstance when I saw how involved she was. I had forgotten that one of my Alzheimer�s activities was when I had the school children in for visits. I hope this helps.


[This message has been edited by melinda (edited 03-12-2007).]
MIMI
A lot of times T.V. will upset them. They do not understand what is going on and the language will up set them. Soft music will calm them .On Saturdays I will let mom take a long bath with candles and soft music. It�s the best she says.At times i will also give her chocolate while she is in her little walk in tub.And of course every one knows how important pet therapy is to those that have always had their pets.
Dear Melinda,
You have been extremely helpful. Thanks so much for sharing your experience and wisdom.

Unfortunately, my mother is one of those that just refuses to do just about everything, except watch TV; it does not upset her, at least not yet. She keeps her eyes closed most of the time and says she is able to concentrate better.

My mom is fully aware that she is losing her mind, which makes it even more difficult. Any time I am with her, that is what she talks about most, the fact that her "head is empty, there is nothing in it".

We tried and tried to get her to go to day care, but she wanted no part of it, unless I stayed there with her. What she wants in life is for her three daughters to care for her. We all work full time and she has an aide full time - wll 7a until 4p which she barely tolerates. The aide is God sent, believe me, she was in my home for a year while I was caring for mom and I saw how lovingly she cared for my mom. My mom doesn't think she needs any help, unless of course it's coming from one of her daughters, then it's not help, but love. My mom has always been a very negative, very stubborn person.

Her love was knitting and crocheting, which she did for over 50 years. For the past two years, she's refused to touch it. I took up crochet, teaching myself and when I do it when I'm with her, her face just lites up. She too enjoys music and still knows the words to many songs and we also dance, although her balance is very poor and she has the Alzheimer's "shuffle", barely moving her feet.

She seems happy with her world and I have to tell myself what she does or doesn't do may not make me happy, but it makes her happy, so I have to accept that.

I spent the day with her yesterday, going to get our mani/pedi's together and then took her to a really lovely outdoor shopping mall because the weather was so beautiful and we sat outside by the fountain and just people watched, which she really enjoyed, especially the young children. She loves the little ones. Sadly, they don't want to go by her, they seem afraid of her. My DIL told me that old people are scary to young ones and maybe that is true.

Anyway, thanks again for sharing, I sincerely appreciate it.
Miriam
MIMI
I do understand the wanting only her daughters to help. I had a lady come help me once a week for a few months. My mom would not do a thing while I was gone not eat not ask to go to the bathroom nothing. She just sat in her chair with her eyes closed the whole time. Some times now when I try to help her I have to let her know I am her daughter in order for her not to put up a fight. I truly do not know which is worse having a healthy body and no mind or unhealthy body and a sharp mind. Coming to the end of our time is just hard no matter how you slice it. I�ve seen all sides and no one way is better than the other. Except when they are in pain and that is why we have hospice thank God. You just take it day to day and so do they. We have it hard but they have it harder they know the end is near and they want to be close to you. Every day when I get mom up I will say �God has blessed us with another day together.� It helps me and it help her and set�s the tone for the day ahead. When I put her to bed I tell her I love her and if the good Lord is willing tomorrow we will be blessed with another day together. Be blessed with another tomorrow.
diane marie...

Sorry about your mom, I miss mine still and it's been a bit over 6 years, I'd said that many times since her passing too, that I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat..time does heal but we'll always miss them terribly...
I did agree with melindas post, grieving should be allowed..doesn't matter where a person is or what they are suffering from..it's more beneficial for anyone to grieve how they see fit then to keep it bottled inside, or worse yet, to feel like the deceased person " didn't matter"...those feelings would spill over to the others and their minds would be constantly thinking..when i pass away it won't matter to anyone..that could be detrimental to even an alz sufferer..a lot are quite aware their minds are forgetting things...and that there is something wrong..my father for one always knew and it really did upset him..if he'd forget something..

prairiegal

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