Not quite the plan

on finding my groove as a 30 something single girl and caregiver for mom with dementia

Appreciating Mom.


Mom told her caregiver today that she was sad that no one tells her she is doing a good job.

It has to be incredibly difficult for someone who is so accustomed to a high level of success in life to operate with the level of impairment that Mom faces at this point.  Basic communication can be challenging, and at times impossible.   Her short term memory is almost non-existent.  We have lived in our new house for a month now and Mom often needs to be redirected to make it to the correct room.

The particularly disappointing thing about her comment is her perception compared to the reality.  I deeply appreciate Mom for her good humor about it all.  She stays pleasant and upbeat, friendly and likable.  Mom continues to show caring toward the people around her.  When she is able to do things to help out, she does them without complaint.  Mom tries not to be a burden.  She makes jokes when she can.   If I ever reach the kind of functioning level that she navigates, I will be a whole lot less lovely about it.

And yet, I don’t know how often I express any of this.  I suspect that no amount of repetition would fully address Mom’s need as she likely would forget my comments of appreciation as quickly as she forgets when she last ate.  But, for my own sake too, I should tell Mom often that she is kicking butt.  (She uses that phrase when she is feeling a little edgy.)  And it’s true; anyone who can laugh this much through dementia is kicking butt.


Author: notquitetheplan

I am a mid-30s single girl, trying to climb the ladder, get a date... and make sure Mom takes her meds. It's not where I expected to be. But it's where I am and this blog is about embracing that.

14 thoughts on “Appreciating Mom.

  1. You are doing a good job too 🙂

  2. This is a good reminder that we can all use a few extra affirmations in our daily lives. It certainly can be hard to see the positive when dealing with dementia.

  3. Yes she is (kicking butt). And she would be honored if she realized how you are portraying her and the difficult circumstances you both face to your audience. Admire you both.

  4. For children we use stickers and gold stars for success. I wonder if something like that would be a reminder for someone with memory loss that they are doing a good job too?

  5. Reminds me of my mom … some days we just laugh out of frustration , but we’re making it n that’s what matters reading your blogs ( :

  6. This just proves that your mother always had a beautiful soul. Even when things are getting more difficult for her she is pleasant and taking everything in stride. Give her a big hug from me.

  7. As I understand it from fellow friends living with Dementia who have progressed further than myself, these ‘lucid’ communication times drift in and out. Being aware but being able to communicate how you are feeling is very different.

    This is such a wonderful blog, and you are great 🙂

  8. Kicking Butt – I like that for a title of a book; I’ll have to consider it for the novel I’m currently writing on Alzheimer’s. I have a long list of possible titles, and I know that once I’m ready, ONE of those titles will speak to me – or none of them will and I’ll think of the best title instantaneously.

  9. It’s discouraging when we think, “they won’t remember anyway.” But whose to say they don’t–at a level we can’t begin to understand? I think your encouraging words of support have more impact that you can even imagine.

  10. You mother sounds like an amazing woman. No wonder she ended up with such an amazing daughter.

  11. It’s hard I guess because you don’t want to sound patronising or like you’re speaking to a child – i.e. “Good Job!” when she’s put her trousers on right or something like that.

    Perhaps you could get her a card that says Thank You and write a message in it to how she has always been a lovely mum to you, and you love her etc, and put it on the mantlepiece or somewhere visible as a more permanent reminder….?

    • That’s a really nice idea! I just found a card that my sister and I made for her when we were little that was quite a sweet one and put it in a posted frame on her wall. It seems to be making her happy. But I like the idea of something more contemporary also!

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