Wild Times in the Roaring 90′s

Wild Times in the Roaring 90’s

This trip I just finished to Alabama was rather mild mannered. Not much new going on with pops—the same garden variety attempts to shake locked doors open and wheel away to freedom, all to no avail. We went for a few nice drives, the best of which was when I got him a chocolate milkshake. He was content to stay in the car and suck on the straw. I parked so we could enjoy the blossoming trees and budding leaves on a sunny spring day. I reminded him that his birthday was coming soon, April 1st. Although he spent his life as an April fool, he had no recollection of the many parties given for him where neighbors and friends played jokes and gave him gag gifts. Every year my mom would dream up a fake birthday cake, such as a pan covered with icing, a cake filled with sand and toy snakes, a talking cake, the cake that moved, etc. Dad enjoyed hearing the stories about his birthdays past.

Speaking of stories, while on my trip, I talked with a man who shared a tale few could top. His mother’s memory was failing, and so he put her into assisted living. She met a man there, and they became close friends. They started taking walks together, but would get lost because neither remembered how to get back to the assisted living residence. The staff at the residence was concerned and called the son about their walks. However, the son was not worried and figured someone would find them, and things would work out.

Next he got a call that a staff member found his mother sitting naked on her bed, in her private room. They assured him she wasn’t going out in public that way, so he figured she had the right to do as she pleased in her own room. Another call revealed that her new gentleman friend had started spending the night and was sleeping with her, in her bed. He told the staff that at 90 years old, his mother would never get pregnant, and if they enjoyed each others company to let them be.

If story were to have ended there, all would have been well. However, the son’s mother woke up one morning and wondered who that strange man was sleeping in her bed. Frightened out of her mind, she dialed 911 and reported the intruder. One incident might have been laughed off, but a routine ensued. Day after day, the gentleman his mother knew so well at night became a stranger by morning. The son searched for more a regimented lifestyle, without 911 calls and where each resident would stay alone in his or her own bed. Another assisted living chapter closed, ushering in a new life — a life of nursing home accommodations.

I’m sure many of us have interesting stories about our aging parents and the journey through Alzheimer’s or dementia. If you have a story you would like to share, please feel free to post it here on my blog.

8 Responses to “Wild Times in the Roaring 90′s”

  1. writerchick Says:

    Hey PG, I’m glad you and Jack and a nice visit. I can envision him happily enjoying his milkshake and the warm spring day.

    The fake birthday cakes your mother made is hilarious. It seems your parents really were a couple of real firecrackers. I would have loved to know them.

    I feel for the man about his mother though. He was probably just hoping that she was displaying idiosyncratic behavior – only to find the time had come.

    It makes me think about my mom and if that day will come for her. She sure is cranky but so far hasn’t demonstrated any behavior that would give us pause. But I remember my grandmother (her mother) doing all manner of whacky things and often reflect on whether mom will go down that road.

    Family, you’ve got to love em.

    Happy Easter, hon.

    Annie

  2. popsgirl Says:

    My mom and dad certainly had their moments, I agree. I bet you would have really enjoyed them and they you.

    Just to let you know, the man who told me the story seemed to be taking it all in stride and finding the humor in unfolding events regarding his mother. Even so, that hope about avoiding the nursing home is something I’m sure everyone feels. If Death knocks on my door before I ever get to that point, I will only be too glad.

    I hope your mom never goes down that road. The road not leading to the nursing home certainly spares a lot of heartache.

    Happy Easter to you too, Annie.

    PG

  3. Ken's Mom Says:

    Hi posgirl!
    Reviewing your blog again helps me a lot. I don’t remember if I told you Mom has been diagnosed with Alzheimers. She is still at home and I have a ‘babysitter’ go for 2 hours a day! Thank god for that little annuity she had. She is on Prozac, but will see the Neurologist soon and maybe get some better meds. She is pretty cute…now that I understand the problem. Her latest is she has figured out that if she produces receipts she gets more money. Yippee, money! When I go after work or on the weekend, sure enough she has her little pile of receipts. Her caregiver took her to a discount store for cards and she was tickled totally with the cute little 6 cards she bought to send to people. Soon she will start a daycare but I have appealed the State long term care folks since she really belongs in at least assisted living. Alzheimers association is paying for the day care. Based on the info I have received she is between stage 1 and 2.
    And thank you! for all your support.

    Ken’s Mom

  4. Popsgirl Says:

    Hi Ken’s Mom,

    I’m so glad my blog is helping. No, I didn’t realize your mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. That’s great that the Alzheimer’s association is paying for daycare and is something very helpful to know for other people who have parent’s with Alzheimer’s. Let me know how if it works out with assisted living. How funny—yippee money! I can just see her hoarding the receipts while dollar signs light up in her eyes. That’s one thing my dad never forgot either–that money is good to have.

    Some new events are unfolding for my dad, and I am flying to Alabama the day after tomorrow. I’m not ready to leave a post about it yet.

    You’re certainly welcome for the support.
    Take care,

    Popsgirl

  5. Ken's Mom Says:

    Have a good trip Popsgirl. I hope all goes well for you.

    Big hugs from Ken’s Mom.

  6. Popsgirl Says:

    Thanks. :)

  7. M. Says:

    Hi, my mom has Alzheimer for some years now. My father was helping to take care of her (with 2 maids) but now I moved in (closed my house, my children are grownups and live in their own houses) and we hired full-time nurses. Even having a lot of staff to help, and my mom being a sweet person, loving, good-humored and all, it is very very sad and tiring sometimes (diapers, medication, constant explanations and managing embarassing moments…). I really admire people who go without help and I can understand why nursing homes look so appealing and safe. In a way this gives us time to say good bye to her in the most loving way we can (and without the stress and guilt of having her elsewhere cared by strangers). However, inverting the situation, being a mom to one’s mom (and a mom to one’s dad) triggers a lot of anxiety and fears. It is a very sad read anyway. Will we know when we are sick with Alzheimer when the time come???? And what should we do? I often think I would kill myself, no matter how much I love life, because it is a terrible terrible disease….

  8. Popsgirl Says:

    M,

    I really do understand what you’re going through. Being at home with your mother is the most difficult yet admirable way of all to take care of an aging parent and difficult because you are observing and experiencing their decline 24/7. I see dementia as a long, drawn out death. A significant aspect of the disease seems to be that the person does not realize the extent of their incapabilities, nor can they arrive at rational conclusions. There may be lucid moments when in a flash their perceptions are clear, but with the short term memory, minutes or seconds later they may no longer be lucid and will have forgotten. Sometimes there are hours of lucidity, but it’s usually rare when the disease is advanced.

    My grandmother on my mother’s side had Alzheimer’s, and at that time there was no medical name designated to describe it, however, clearly that’s what it was. My mom, more than anything, never wanted to end up like her mother. Maybe that’s why she kept smoking up until three days before she died. She had emphysema and congenital heart disease and died at 75. Whereas my father lived to 91, and during the last 5 years of his life, the dementia made him unable to function effectively on his own. There were, however, signs of dementia before that last 5 year period, just not as pronounced.

    My dad originally wanted to live to 100, but when he was 86 he told me that living 2 more years would be enough. Two years later that decision was long forgotten. I think only those people who still have their wits about them have much say about when they will pass. A friend of mine’s grandmother when in her 80′s traveled to visit everyone in the family, delivering her last communications. She had quit taking her heart medication and when visiting the last relative, her sister, one day she dropped dead from a heart attack. I believe she had made her peace with God and did not want to be a burden to anyone. It was a nature’s way, no medication, the body just ran its course. Those are my thoughts in answer to your question.

    ~ PG

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