Members Share / Senior Living

Who Lives Upstairs: Caring for a Parent with Dementia

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Mother and daughters sometimes can rub each other the wrong way.

Well, this is an experience I had when I completely lost it with my mom when she was in my care. I regret it deeply.

Something you must never do is get caught up in the mother and daughter relationship while caring for them. Their behavior may sound like it is accusatory at times.

“Where is my toothbrush? Have you seen my toothbrush? Did you take my toothbrush? I know it was right here on the bathroom shelf, but it is gone.”

Well, after the fifth week, and you have purchased five new toothbrushes, you can really lose it. Especially if you are already overwhelmed.  Don’t let this happen. Be aware that they will forget the whole conversation they had with you.  All you need to do is stay calm and distract them with something else.

My husband, while in the other room listening had to keep from chuckling to himself.

She asked again, “Where is my toothbrush? I put it right here.” She pointed to the sink.

“Mom, I will help you find it.”  We went into her room and I went through her things. Just having an angry fit while I was searching for it.

After an exhausted search, I screamed, “MOM I DON’T KNOW WHERE YOUR FREAKING TOOTHBRUSH IS!”

She looked so frightened and said, “I want to go home.”

I thought at that moment I was the evil mom and she was my small child.  While trying to hold back my tears, feeling so bad for losing control, I said, “Mom, I am so sorry. I
will get you another toothbrush.”

She replied with her sad brown eyes, “All right, that would be nice.   Who lives upstairs?  They are being awfully noisy.”

Instead of saying we don’t have an upstairs mom, I said lovingly, “I will speak to them about that Mom.”
___________ 
Editor's Note:  Louise's note mentions that her mother was diagnosed with liver cancer and died on August 1, 2014.  Louise, please be assured of the sympathies of the entire AFL community…. 

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