It's trial and error with a parent living in a group homes' "memory care" for dementia. Remembering that entertainment is variable with each person's interest, ability, attention span, health, preferences, understanding/ comprehension, and memories. I have to be ever-observant while with my mother, making best use of every precious moment.
My mother seems to dislike crafts, but I am learning what she is best at, at her age of 85, but apparent mental age of around 8-12 years, by helping her to re-train her mind rather than just to occupy her hands, especially since she was never very interested in using them for crafts.
Very well stated. Dementia and residing outside the home is a real challenge and giving up the normal life for such a change is quite overwhelming. You are very very thoughtful and patient and heartily searching for things to keep your mother connected to living life with the most quality her health can afford and what she enjoys.
I worked in a nursing home for ten years and I've never seen as stated so much love, consideration, and understanding explained as well as you have described.
Since your mother enjoys flowers and plants, you might take flower catalogs with you so you can both talk about the colorful and pretty ones she loves the most. I did this for an elderly friend and I noticed that it connected her to the past and lifted her spirit before I left. Seeing flowers she once owned and knew about opened up the door of communication for my friend who suffered from a stroke and other health complications. She was frustrated at times with herself as thoughts came, but she had difficulty putting it into words. Being inept at knowing the person really well was useful as you just about knew what comment she might make on the subject. She could also point to pictures.
I also took with me her favorite candy to enjoy and fragrant soaps or powders for her use. Perhaps arranging a get together of a close friend or two would be something your mother would enjoy. Having to miss out on phone calls and visits with them as she once did is an emotional loss. It's the bonding of family and friends and special items that one misses the most from my experience on the job. Taking a few of her favorite items from her belongings so it feels more like home and brought a happy memory back is what elderly people hold onto. You're a very good daughter and teaching your grandchild to observe the elderly and understand with their heart what life for them is all about is a good thing. We need more caring people in this world and you're on the right track. God bless and I'm sure your helpful insights will bless others who are seeking what you have shared.
Reading your post warmed my heart and reminded me that there still are loving, thoughtful people in the world. I love you for putting so much time, effort and thought into making your mother's life as pleasant as possible. It is a great reminder, and guide, for those who are, or will someday be, in your position. Our elderly deserve to be treated with kindness and dignity. A quick visit once a week or month and a pat on the head does not fulfill their needs! I truly believe that they "know" in the core of their being, if they are being loved and cared for or if they are brushed aside and being treated as a burden.
After my mother's stroke she was unable to walk or communicate with us. I always spent time with her brushing her hair, massaging her arms and hands with lotion, cleaning, trimming and polishing her nails, and just talking to her. I could always see and feel the tenseness and sadness leave her as I touched and stroked her. She was a hard working farm wife all her life and had never had manicures or lotions in her life. I could almost see the amused twinkle in her eyes as I'd do her manicure. She obviously enjoyed them but I believe she knew they were part of a lifestyle she had not lived in her past.
You have given us a wonderful example to follow.
May God richly reward you for all the good you do.
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