Parental Journal 23 from Planet Elderly: Tomorrow I Return to Check In on Folks

Oct. 9, 2015   afternoon

I take off tomorrow for the 8 hour drive to visit my folks.  Will make the trip all in one day instead of staying overnight half way.

A few days ago I received a call from Victory Lakes.  Mom had left crying.  She had Dad in his room and was yelling at him.  The staff were alarmed…called the situation “difficult.”  Wanted me to know they fetched him and brought him to the common area.  Certainly, yelling at elderly Alzheimers patients is not acceptable…and here they have her yelling at him.  That’s what she has always done when frustrated.  During my next visit I hope to find a time to gently point out that no one is allowed to yell at the residents.  I’m not sure she’ll remember the incident.  I’m pretty sure she won’t be able to refrain from yelling at him from time to time.

Spoke with Mom a few minutes ago.  She was crying.  A large bill came for Dad’s care and she was upset.  I reminded her that those bills are paid automatically, but she could not find any indication that it would be withdrawn.  She felt better after I reassured her that there is a money market account available to pay Dad’s expenses…I’ll look at it when I get there tomorrow.  She was relieved.

Then she cried some more.  Had a bad day while visiting Dad.  She doesn’t like the way he speaks to her.  She got angry and left upset.  Said she just wants to sell the house and get a one bedroom apartment.  He can carry on without her. He talks nicely to other people, but bosses her around.  Feels like divorcing him… running away.  Then she said she was worried because she has no money and no one will hire an 89-year-old…maybe they would around Christmas time when stores need help, but not now.  I reminded her that she does have money available.  She just has to go to the bank and withdraw what she needs.  I explained where the social security and the pension checks are deposited…and because she receives those funds, she does not need to work.  She sounded surprised and happy.

Her head is stuck in the past.  One received a paycheck and took the paycheck to the bank.  Then one put the money in a bank account and kept a little cash on hand.  “I just have to remember that it’s automatic and I just need to go to the bank if I want some cash,” she said.  Yup.  But she won’t remember.

It was a good phone talk today.  She needed to vent and she even apologized a bit, but was firm that she would not visit him tomorrow or maybe even for a while.  I told her it was fine to take a break.

“I have to make some decisions.  I’m not sure how long I can keep doing this.  Sometimes I think if I didn’t wake up it would be fine…or if I was killed in a car crash.  Then it would all be over.”  These are difficult words to hear from her, but not unexpected.  She has said similar things before when burdened with more than she can handle, but unwilling to admit it is more than she can handle.  Under no circumstances does she want anyone telling her what to do.  She’s one of those.  Plenty of caregivers on the Alzheimers.org discussion boards know exactly what I mean.

Getting things packed.  I put two bottles of white wine in the trunk of my car.  Will need an occasional glass some evenings while I’m up there.  I’ll finish packing the rest of the stuff after dinner tonight with stepdaughter  and her family.  The plan is to be out the door and on the road fairly early tomorrow morning…probably before 6:30 a.m.

Mom said she’s looking forward to having me there.  I’ll bring my big shoulder…and some hugs.

About jjmummert

Just another voice in the wilderness from someone who's lived on this planet for over 60 years and faces permanent residency on Planet Elderly. Update: As of March 2, 2017, I turned 70. I'm now an official resident of Planet Elderly. Dad passed away September 22, 2016. I view the Parental Journal entries as part therapy, part family history, sort of a case study of what our family experiences with one parent in a memory care unit, another living independently with short-term memory loss, and me, the only child daughter who lives 400 miles away. It's quite an adventure. Recommended readings for others who have loved ones who live with some form of dementia: The 36-Hour Day, The Myth of Alzheimer's - What You Aren't Being Told About Today's Most Dreaded Diagnosis, Alzheimer's Early Stages.
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