There are no mistakes, no coincidences. All events are blessings, given to us to learn from. ~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
“I think your mom has about a year,” is all I remember from my first visit with mom last week. I didn’t get a chance to ask questions until our Care Meeting on Wednesday, but by then, I could see why my mom’s Caregiver would say this.
The first thing I noticed is mom’s diminished level of engagement. She’s lost and far away, and has an emptiness to her eyes that I’ve not seen before. And for the first time since mom’s diagnosis, I’ve thought to myself, “my mom is brain dead.”
You can take that literally, because Alzheimer’s is another word for a dying brain.
The last time I visited in September, mom could be directed to do things on her own. Now she needs help with everything — eating, dressing, undressing, escorting to the bathroom, hygiene, toileting. Everything.
Mom is going down fast. That’s what they tell me, and that’s what I see.
Mom’s Caregiver thinks she has something other than or in addition to Alzheimer’s disease. After spending time with other residents in mom’s Home with Alzheimer’s, I can see what she means. While one woman colors in a coloring book, mom doesn’t understand that she needs to pick up the crayon to color. Another 94-year-old woman with advanced Alzheimer’s uses complete sentences, and is highly engaged. Not true for mom.
I recently shared my New Year Resolutions for my mom which is more of a list of things to do before it’s too late. But it’s already too late for some things on the list like traveling to her home town which would be too much. But maybe when the weather is warmer, we can do the easy things like walk barefoot along a lake shore or watch clouds overhead.
Mom has rounded a corner and I believe I have too.
I’m less frantic, more realistic, and more at peace. If it’s true that mom has a year, then there’s nothing left to do now but enjoy her — and make sure she’s loved and gets good care.