Parental Journal 107: Visits No Longer Allowed

Sunday, March 15, 2020   late afternoon

Alone

Like many who are no longer permitted to visit loved ones in nursing homes, I’m concerned about my mom feeling alone.  However, I trust that staff have tried to explain the coronavirus situation to those residents who are still able to have a conversation.  Not that Mom will remember, but I’m confident staff will inform her any time she wonders where her daughter is.

Visitors or no visitors, I know Mom will be eavesdropping on any conversations within range, a favorite hobby of hers.  She has always been fascinated with people coming and going, staff having conversations, and suspenseful movies and TV shows.

 

Below:  Mom enjoying one of the birthday cupcakes friend Susan made for me.

Mom and Jenny's birthday cupcake

Disney Movie

A week ago, a Disney movie was being played.  I don’t remember which one, but I do remember that Mom was quite absorbed in what she was seeing.

There was a young female character trying to find another character, and she had to enter a dark forest.  Mom spoke up.  “Don’t go,” she told the young lady.  “Don’t go!” she said again.  “I told you not to go!”

Seeing her so absorbed, I naturally reminded her that it was a Disney movie and not real.  Hearing me interrupt her reality once again, she looked at me and said, “I know!” as if I were nuts.

Slowing Down

In recent weeks there have been more and more times when I see Mom sleeping or holding her head.  It’s not unusual for her to get sleepy after a meal, and I think she is still their champion night owl.

Once she recovered from her winter cold, she was back to using a walker with assistance from a staff member.  The weekend staff, however, usually have her in her wheelchair.  She doesn’t seem to mind either way.

Following directions as in left or right…as in putting a hand in a sweater sleeve…as in recognizing what items are on her served lunch plate, that is all getting worse.

Sometimes she will pour a bit of coffee on food items, reach for a used Kleenex with her fork, offer her food to others at the table, and use her fingers to eat pieces of meat or sliced buttered carrots.  I interrupt if I see her doing the Kleenex routine, but other than that, I try not to tell her what to do with the food on her plate.  Usually she is quite content and I just watch while chatting with others near us.

The last time I left her she was starting to nod off after lunch.  I told her I needed to stop at Walmart to pick up some things.  She nodded that she understood.  I gave her a kiss on her forehead, put on my coat, and as I was leaving her neighborhood, I realized that I forgot to say, “I love you,” as I usually do.

That was the last time I saw her.   I miss her and think of her throughout each day.

 

About jjmummert

Just another voice in the wilderness from someone who's lived on this planet for over 70 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. In late March 2017 I was able to move Mom closer to me where she resided at a memory care assisted living community until being downsized to a skilled nursing senior community in October 2018 in Columbia, Missouri. I view the Parental Journal entries as part therapy, part family history, sort of a case study of our family's journey with dementia. 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 website: https://www.agingcare.com/ ; https://www.alz.org/
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