Not quite the plan

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


Glee in the house.

Mom and I used to spend so much time watching tv together.  It was a big part of our bonding, and how she passed so much of her time. 

Lately, few shows hold her attention since she cannot remember enough of the story lines to undetstand and follow.  We have tried a lot of nature shows but she tends to lose interest quickly.  Rewatching old favorites is also good sometimes.

But I experiment with various options to tey to hold her interest.  I recently tried showing her Glee, a show that she completely rejected when her mind was a bit more functional.  It is a fun show featuring high schoolers singing and dancing.

So I put Glee on and to my delight, Mom reacted to the songs and dancing.  She even got up and started dancing along.  Mom was always too inhibited for dancing so I love seeing her dance at this stage in life.  It’s a glimmer of joy. 

Tonight she did several loops of the living room, holding a roll of toilet paper, swinging her arms and bopping to Forever Young, as sung on Glee.  And she was happy. 

More Glee will be coming to our house. 



Baby doll.

So, I was struggling a bit for Christmas presents this last Christmas and looked around for gift ideas for people living in later stage dementia. Among the various ideas, I saw mention of giving people dolls. Several people explained that it made the person with dementia happy to have a baby doll to care for. I decided to try it.

With a bit of searching on Amazon, I found a little toddler looking girl with long reddish hair that looks a lot like Mom’s hair, and decided she would be our trial baby doll.

I decided that wrapping up the baby doll with her other Christmas presents might be odd since the hope was that Mom might think of the doll as a real baby, and we know that babies don’t come wrapped up in Christmas paper. In my Christmas wrapping frenzy, I put the still boxed up doll on top of a pile in the hall closet.

The next morning, the day after Christmas, I woke up to find that the doll had been found and moved right next to Mom on the bed! So the baby girl doll clearly hit a chord. She has been living on Mom’s bed when she is not being carried around the house.

I had mixed feelings about whether it was the right time for such an item for Mom. I don’t want to insult her stage in life, and yet, more sophisticated things don’t bring her as much pleasure now.

Mom’s own reactions to the doll vary from day to day. One day Mom kept running over to give her baby doll kisses and telling me how cute she was. She often carries her around the house. Tonight though she turned to me and said, you know she’s not real? But I cannot help but think that with the chaos in my house these days, who is say what is real and what is not? I tucked Mom and her doll in for the night.


Dressing for breakfast.

The other weekend, I heard Mom up early and stumbled out of bed to go make her breakfast. Downstairs I went in what I had been sleeping in– some awesome yoga pants covered with animal prints that a good friend of mine gave me several years ago, bare feet and a tank top.

So I started making us pancakes and Mom looked at me and pointed out that I was probably cold. She gets cold easily and to be fair, the winter has been serious lately. But I don’t get cold easily especially since we turn up the heat a lot for Mom. I was cheerfully making my pancakes.

Five minutes later, Mom tried again. She pointed out that I might want to cover up. Her next line was not terribly articulate but seemed to be a comment about women that I took as meaning that I was not appropriately dressed in my tank top. Perish the thought that I should not have done my hair and put on a coordinated outfit before making pancakes for the family!

A moment later she brought up the cold again. This point was not to be dropped.

Silly as it felt to have Mom telling me repeatedly to go get some clothes on, I could not help but appreciate that she still worries about me. It’s her way of continuing to mother me, at least in certain moments. What kind of mother lets her daughter wander about in tank tops and bare feet in the middle of winter?