Parental Journal 115 from Planet Elderly: Socially Distanced Fall Visits

Saturday, October 3, 2020 – mid-morning

When my friends ask how visits with Mom are going, I am delighted to tell them that we are having so much fun. I do most of the talking, but Mom reacts and responds appropriately, even if she can’t get all the words out.

Since it’s up to me to do most of the talking, lately I’ve been yammering about the fires in California, doing fall garden clean-up, the shocking first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, getting my flu shot, getting weekly allergy shots as an experiment, and reading about photography. She is all ears and reacts with wide eyes, frowns, laughter, and short comments like, “That sounds terrible,” or “You will like that,” or “I hope you’ll be okay.” In my book, that’s terrific.

I am very fortunate that she still knows me, can understand conversations even if she can’t remember what was said five minutes later, and laughs with me. We are growing old together in a way I never imagined. It is so meaningful.

Our socially distanced visits are in an enclosed porch area. We could go into the garden area, but Mom likes to be warm. We had one visit on a lovely day outside in the courtyard, but the rest have been in the sheltered porch area away from the wind. Now that day temperatures are getting a bit cooler, staff have made sure she has her winter coat on when we visit. Like many elders her age and her size, her preferred indoor temperature is at least 82 degrees. Ugh.

Masked and in her winter coat. There is a smile behind that mask:

We have scheduled days and times through October. Most likely, the weather will cooperate and we’ll be able to have our enclosed porch visits. Once colder weather arrives, I hope the community will resume the indoor “chatterbox visits” where we are separated by a plexiglass barrier.

At the end of each visit, we give each other big air hugs and we blow each other masked kisses. I leave smiling behind my mask and a little misty-eyed. She is a gem.

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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