Grateful in Dementia

I was thinking about some things that happened Thursday. I realized I can be grateful even in the midst of this horrible disease.

I went for an Essential Caregiver visit. (Texas now allows Essential Caregivers to enter facilities.) I knew I needed to organize E’s closet, quickly go through drawers looking for trash, and clean out the bathroom cabinets. She tends to stuff everything anyplace she can – food containers, jewelry, plastic forks, etc. Her Brain is broken; E has dementia. She doesn’t know where to put things so stuffs them to get them out of sight. She’s cleaning the best she can.

I planned to do all the cleaning quickly during her Physical Therapy session; I try to do this weekly. I had 45 minutes to do all I needed to do – just enough time to do all the cleaning with E out of the room.

But the therapist was late and E was in her room. Yikes!

This is the first thing I’m grateful for today:

As her disease has progressed, E’s become more relaxed and more willing to have others do for her what she used to do herself.

This is woman who vacuumed her house daily and was very picky about cleanliness. In the earlier stages of her disease, she used to hate having anyone go through her things and was reluctant to accept help with cleaning. She didn’t like that she needed help. When helping her, I had to tread carefully. She sometimes got irritated and told me to stay out of her things.

Now she readily accepts my help. She didn’t balk at me going through her things! She was fine watching me and even thanked me! I’m grateful she accepts help with peace and is comforted by my help.

Here’s the second thing I am grateful for:

E’s short term memory loss means lots of good surprises for her.

I stepped into the bathroom just moments before the therapist arrived. She asked E who was in the bathroom. E answered, “housekeeping, I guess????” not remembering who was there.

I stuck my head out and said, “It’s me!”

She smiled and was so excited to see me! “It’s my daughter! Kathleen! Isn’t that wonderful!” E said with great joy. ❤️❤️❤️

Each time I take her for tacos and a coke, she eats like she hasn’t had a taco in years, savoring every bite. “It’s been forever since I had a coke!” she’ll say with a twinkle in her eyes. She doesn’t remember we do this almost every Thursday. Instead, she is thrilled that I have given her this wonderful treat!

Yes, I hate this disease.

And, yes, I can be grateful even in the midst of it.

Photo by Luizmedeirosph from Pexels

9 thoughts on “Grateful in Dementia

  1. It’s wonderful how you and E have found the silver lining in this current reality. It sounds like she no longer realizes she struggles with short term memory. This is a blessing for both of you. I first met E when I was 15 years old. She was a classy lady then AND now😀.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Precious blessings in the midst of such hardship. I imagine if she knew how hard you fought to have regular visits and little excursions she would be so grateful. God bless you Kathleen and may He grant peace to E.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There were days when I wanted to quit.

      One day my wise husband said, “You can quit. You can let others care for her. She won’t know. But you will. And she trusted you with her Medical Power of Attorney knowing years ago you would do the right thing.”

      I cried.

      And I got up the next day to fight for her again.

      Like

  3. A lovely woman from our church was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s about ten years ago. She died last week. All I’ve ever heard about here–I didn’t know her before she was diagnosed–is that was a joy in every way, and her life is a legacy of grace, kindness and joy. Even in her illness, which affected her physically in a very serious way, she was sweet. Her family will always remember the years BEFORE she got sick 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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