What did I do wrong?

A Caregiver Tip By Wendy

What did I do wrong?
Nothing Mom. You did nothing wrong. I am sorry for being upset.

I must have done something wrong.
No, you didn’t Mom. I’m just tired and didn’t handle myself well.

Yes, but why were you upset?
Mom, would you like a cup of tea?

Oh yes please!
And a cookie?

That would be nice. Chocolate?

Diversion, my favourite tactic. It’s like pointing out a cat or a squirrel to my dog. All things before the chase ensues has been forgotten. Since my Mom’s dementia has progressed to the point of having a non-existent short-term memory, the hope of maintaining any type of conversation has, in a sense, dried up. I am unable to share any joy, sadness, wishes, stories, or plan with Mom because she gets lost on the first detail. My sister-like relationship with her has been rapidly morphing into simply providing an environment of harm-reduction and well-being, as well as keeping myself calm and sane.

When we leave choir practice, we step into the lobby of the Gordon Head Recreation Centre. She slowly looks around and is completely lost. “Where are we?” she asks in a bewildered voice. When I remind her that we were at choir practice she asks “Today?” And then she asks again. And then she asks again. And again.

Time to divert before I snap! I will point out a flower or a beautiful tree and let that conversation lead to its inevitable end “Where are we” but in the meantime I will have calmed and we will have had a sweet conversation about the arbutus trees in our garden which leads to the inevitable and terrifying question “Where is my home? I can’t remember what my house looks like; which leads to its inevitable end “Where are we?”

My name is Wendy. My Mom’s name is Judith. She has been diagnosed with Vascular Dementia.

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