Mom and her girls (some of them)

Mom and her girls (some of them)
Belinda, Angie, Mom and Me (Becs)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Mom, Forget-Us-Not

This is my mom, Betty, with her only grand-daughter Angie, at Angie's college graduation two years ago.  Mom was in moderate stages of Dementia and Alzheimer's and  was living at home with my sister, Belinda, my Brother-in-law Rick, and me.  Mom still had recognition of us, still knew she was our mom and she could carry on a conversation relatively well.  However, we were to find out shortly that her memory and personality would deteriorate rather quickly after this.

This is mom with my sister, Beverly (Angie's mom) and Jerry, my brother-in-law (Angie's dad).  Mom was easy to get along with and loving to us all like her normal self.  She would get confused and ask the same questions repeatedly, but her long term memory was still intact.  She did however, begin to wander outside at times trying to go home, thinking she was a young woman living in Colorado where she grew up.  It was at this time that our lives changed drastically and quickly!  We are like most middle class people, we live pay check to pay check.  Mom relied on a small Social Security but her bills and debts were being paid for by Belinda and Rick.  I was working part-time and we found ourselves in need of some assistance.  Unfortunately, this is quite expensive.  After searching and inquiring, Rick learned of a place in our town (Porterville, California) that was a day care for Alzheimer and dementia patients.  They have a program where you can drop of your loved one and pick them up at the end of the day.  The cost was manageable.  PADS (Porterville Adult Day Services) was a blessing from GOD!!!  These women cared for and loved our mom as if she were theirs.  And in fact, she was theirs! 
These lovely ladies loved our mother! In fact, when my mother worked at a local sewing factory years ago, the two older women, Maria and Francesca (sisters) worked for my mom.  And they remembered her when she came in!  What another blessing from God!  She knew that she knew them but did not remember why.   

This picture is mom on her last day at PADS (February 2009).  The following day we placed her in a wonderful care facility strictly for Alzheimer and Dementia patients.  This whole situation was also God ordained and orchestrated.  I will save that story for another time.  Mom drastically and quickly went into advanced stages of the disease and we found ourselves in a situation that we could no longer handle.  We could not keep her safe with us anymore..  We could not get her to take her medication, to sleep, there were times that my sister and I did not sleep for days.  We could not bathe her or change her clothes.  She would hit us and spit on us.  This was not our mother.  What do you do when this happens?  We had no idea what to do.  PADS helped us tremendously with bathing and pills when they could.  We literally became prisoners in our own home because mom was terrified if any of us left the room.  I can't imagine how she must have felt not knowing who we were or where she was suddenly.

This picture is of mom and Angie on our last vacation with mom at Avila Beach, July 2008.  This was a hard time for her as she was frightened most of the time, but comfortable as long as we all stayed in the same room with her....
Since February of this year, we have gone through many tears, laughter, emotions and healing.  Our mom is happy at her new home, Golden Living Center of Shafter.  The staff love and interact with the clients and the place is ran like a home.  They are specially trained in this disease and again, are a blessing from God!

Please share stories and comments, ask questions or just talk...I want this to be a place where people can share and get help or references.  I just felt it was time to reach out to others that are going through similar circumstances in coping with not knowing who their parents, spouses, loved ones are anymore....

God Bless all of you!  Becs