No one wants to be a downer blogger. Generally speaking, I’m a pretty cheery, positive person, while also being sensitive to the cruelty and grief of merely being alive. My 82-yr old Mum (who lives in England, while I’m here in Australia) has Dementia, as most of you know, and I had a challenging time on my visit to her in August. She was still living alone in her rented flat, albeit supported by 5 Carer visits a day, and categorically refusing to even entertain the possibility/probability of needing to move to a group Home…
Except events came to a head, as they are wont to do, and the Police were called a few times while Mum was wandering the neighbourhood feeling completely disorientated. I chose to keep all that quiet here, partly out of respect for her privacy, and also because I didn’t want to be a downer blogger.
So she was recently moved into a small temporary Home nearby, for her safety and wellbeing, much to the family’s relief. But for her, the ‘shit hit the fan’.
She spent a week throwing furniture, yelling at staff, being utterly incompliant, and trying to escape at any opportunity. The 2nd week calmed a little, but she was still essentially defiant.
But guess what? By the fourth week, she knew her way around, was making friends, could contentedly sit in the garden without fleeing, and was putting on weight with the regular meals provided.
Most excitedly, she was happily singing in the ‘choir’, laughing and joking with the singing teacher, PLUS making a special connection with another resident called ‘David’.
As in, flirting and hanging out together.
Go Mum! Apparently the staff needed to ‘manage’ their interactions, making sure they weren’t left alone…
I felt so proud: not bad for 82 huh?
The Home have offered her a permanent place now, if we want her to stay there rather than move to Wales; we’re still wondering what to do. A dark cloud of concern lifted off my shoulders at this turn of events; we still now have to deal with the contents of her flat, but when I last spoke to her and asked if she missed her old place, she told me over and over that no she didn’t.
So what do we do with a lifetime’s collection of ‘stuff’? Do the paintings, books, china and jewellery of my childhood memories really matter? It’s such an interesting question for me, and I’m appreciating the opportunity to truly investigate my responses. In the meantime, Mum is happily singing, flirting, and munching her way through the Autumn days, and I will no longer have to worry that she’s warm enough, bored silly, or that her tummy is full.
In complete gratitude for group Homes, the welfare state, & social services, G xO