Ain’t Nothing But a Family Thing (Part 2) September 1, 2013Posted by JRizz in Disease, Family, Love, Special Occasions.
Tags: Alzheimer's, Alzheimer's Disease, Aunt, Barbeque, Birthdays, Brother, Caregiver, Caregivers, children, Cousins, Dad, Daughter, Degenerative Disease, Dementia, Early Onset, Family, Father, Husband, In-Home Care, Mom, Mother, Parties, Relationships, Sister
Since my last post, I have spoken with a lot of my family and gotten them all onto the same page. I appreciate that they understand how badly my Dad and I need a break. We are trying to do the very best that we can, and that is all anyone can ask of us.
Yesterday we had a small family barbeque for Mom’s birthday (which is today). I knew it would be harder than the last family party we had, as trying to care for her and be a hostess means trying to be in eight places at once. Plus, I have young cousins between the ages of 1 and 9, so lots of opportunity for accidents. Of course, by the end of the night we had onion dip on the living room rug and someone got nailed in the head with a volleyball, but everyone left relatively unscathed.
Everyone in the family has a different approach to my Mom. I think some of the kids are a little unsure, especially the older ones who remember what she once was like. The oldest, a nine-year-old boy, is the same age my oldest cousin (his aunt) was when my Grandmother got to my Mom’s stage. Some of the adults want to jump right in when something happens with my Mom. Some of them wait on her (great for me!). Some of them prefer to wait for cues from me or my Dad. I would say, out of everyone, my Mom’s cousins probably have the best approach. They try to interact with my Mom and get her to sit with them so my Dad and I can get a break, but if she becomes agitated, they let us handle it without barging in.
Halfway through yesterday’s events, while everyone was eating, my Mom’s eyes went dark and I could tell something was wrong. She was eating her burger very slowly and not making eye contact with anyone. While the littlest baby cried nearby, I tried to get her to tell me what was wrong. I decided to remove her from all the hubbub (not their fault, babies cry, kids shout…such is life!) and once we were with my Dad on the back steps, separate from the rest of the party she began to cry. She thought someone had tampered with the meat, and since my Dad was in charge of the grill, she was afraid they would all blame my Dad when everyone got sick. This went on for about 20 minutes. People came over to try and make her laugh and eventually we got her back into good spirits, sitting with her cousin and taking some deep breaths. By the end of the night, she was fine. After everyone had gone home, she was raving about what a nice party it was and how lucky she is to have so many people who love her.
I have two hopes after yesterday’s mini-episode. I hope that everyone in the family has a greater understanding of the unpredictability of my Mom’s condition and perhaps that can lead them to a greater respect for the stress my Dad and I are under. I also hope that it does not deter them from offering their assistance in the future.