|Ma on her 83rd birthday, holding her baby and enjoying a gluten free cupcake|
"You are so cute!" I witnessed mom saying to her baby the other day when I visited her. She kissed the doll and gently stroking its head like I often saw her do to her grandchildren decades ago. Adorable in so many ways; tears came to my eyes. I thought to myself, what a precious moment; I sure will miss her when she dies.
One day I visited mom and she was agitated. I asked what was wrong, "the man, he makes me panic." Mom wasn't sleeping at night because she was scared. We needed a solution, I needed to convince my demented mom that all the problems have all been resolved and she is safe.
"Ma, do you want me to call Dream Master? You know he always fixes the troubles with all the people who tend to bother you." I offered.
"Oh, could you?" She replied.
I picked up the black phone prop in the activities room and began to dial. I pretended to talk to Dream Master and did my best to be believable to anyone listening, especially my mom. Eyes fixated on me, mom listened to my "phone conversation."
"Hello? Dream Master? This is Sue.
I hung up the phone.
Mom was relieved. "I didn't think he remembered me." My mom said.
"Sure he remembers you! You are his helper. He appreciates you finding the lost souls and helping him to bring them back home." I reassured her that everything was just like it always has been, she is safe and secure.
Dream Master often helped me to ease my mom's anxiety, a fictitious character that I had learned about on the internet a few years ago. It worked for all of her night terrors when she was living here with me. I was relieved that Dream Master continues to have a calming effect on mom.
My call to Dream Master happened about a month ago. Mom has been sleeping through the night every night; every day is a good day. Rest is contributing to my mom having more good days; a challenge for anyone with Lewy Bodies Dementia.
Mom is content. She is funny with one liners that tickle anyone within earshot. Mom still has her sense of humor, her dementia has not stolen her funny bone. She has always loved to make people laugh.
"Hey, how come everyone else has nice shoes but me?" Mom exclaimed out of the blue. Mom loves shoes and noticed when I arrive in a new pair.
I have observed that the positive changes in my mom began with me. Looking in the mirror one day several months ago, I asked myself, "Sue, what can you do to change YOU so that you can create the life of your dreams?" Knowing that I can only control myself, I focused my attention on becoming stronger and happier. Only I have the power to make myself happy, so that is exactly what I set out to do.
I began to take care of myself, really take care of myself. I stopped worrying about what anyone thought of me and chose to be happy with who I have become as a person. I believe in myself with strong conviction. I smile more. I am spontaneously singing again. I lost weight and continue to lose weight. I relaxed and stopped complaining. I thought of potential solutions to all the things that were not right around me, took action and immediately my life was lighter.
Once I made the decision to change how I approached my mom being in a facility, something amazing happened. My mom became happier, she now smiles more. My behaviors and mood affected my mom's quality of life. I am happy, my mom sees me happy and now she is happy. Beautiful.
Extending outside of myself, I began to watch other families and how they reacted toward their loved one in a dementia unit. A common theme: when families are upset, the emotion can not be hidden from the person with dementia. Upset and negative energy will always cause the resident to become uneasy.
I have noticed that after a whirlwind of emotions has come through mom's dementia unit, all the residents became more agitated; my mom included. The staff seemed to have a more difficult time keeping folks calm. Residents are helpless to do anything to solve the problem that is being heard.
How frustrating it must be for a parent to hear their child upset, crying and angry with everything; the parent is now mentally impaired, unable to communicate and offer comfort. I regret being a lunatic in front of my mom. Live and learn.
The most difficult hurdle to overcome as my mom's Care Giver was dropping my ego and understanding that everything between my mom and me stopped being about me the day she got sick... it's now all about her when I visit.
My focus is on my mom, happy talk and keeping my emotions in check. Putting my ego away when I visit her allows us to have a great visit. I get to hear some of her one liners that make me laugh or watch her adore her baby. I am fortunate.