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.