Last week was my mom’s 92nd birthday. She’s doing fairly well, as well as someone with advanced Alzheimer’s can do. Physically, she’s fine.
On her birthday, last Tuesday, Bridget and I went for a visit and brought a cake for her and the other residents to enjoy. They had a little celebration with the other people that live there and it seems that everyone always loves cake.
Yesterday, we went back to celebrate with the kids. Samantha had to work but my nephew was with us and was happy to tag along. Mom was quieter than usual and its hard to determine whether that was due to medication, being a little overwhelmed by all the people or just a mood. I believe she truly enjoyed having us there. We ate cake, gave her a bunch of gifts. What’s not to like.
Visiting her facility is always like a trip to the “Twilight Zone” and this was no exception. The residents are all Alzheimer’s patients with different manifestations and varying degrees of the disease. I know many of the residents, particularly the people who tend to continuously walk around and will sit with you. Its something that you have to accept when you visit, that there’s a good chance that while your visiting mom, someone else will sit down with you and start talking.
As you can see in the picture, Edna, wandered into our picture. We know Edna because she’s always roaming the hallways and coming over to us. She nice and very harmless, even though we never really know what she’s talking about. Lately, she has been a bit “friendlier”, in that she’ll come over and sit next to me and hold my arm – tightly. Evidently, she likes men. Yesterday, after this picture was taken she took hold of Jacob’s arm and starting walking away with him. Jacob being respectful and a good sport, didn’t fight and went with her, but looked back at us with a “Please help me” look. I went to his rescue and intervened, freeing him. Sitting back down, Jacob indicated he was now ready to leave. Bridget and I have learned to take these situations in stride. You have to be able to laugh.
We don’t bring the kids to visit that much, its not an easy place to be. But, I make sure to let them know that visiting grandma is a mitzvah and they should understand that in some way that she is not able to communicate, she loves seeing them.