Don’t Forget to Enjoy Your Parents: Alzheimer’s Or Not

October 23, 2009 at 2:08 pm 2 comments

Want to know when I miss my mom? Watching a mother and daughter cross the street arm in arm. Watching a son and father, hands in pocket, strolling down the street. There’s something about the two of them–together–just being that starts my tears to flowing. They’re good tears. Memory tears.

My mom has passed away. She was 92 years old, and during her last few years she struggled with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and heart disease. Doesn’t sound like much fun, and it wasn’t, not that part, anyway.  The part about hanging out with my mom was at times, quite enjoyable. I learned that I had to separate the daughter in me from the caregiver in me. Caregiving is a role, a daughter is a state of being. It’s a relationship.

My mom was still my mom and much to my surprise, I found that I enjoyed being with her. If you had told my 20 something or 30 something self that I would ever enjoy walking extremely slow (can we say sloths move faster?) next to my mom, just for a stroll, or shopping at a Walgreen’s, or taking in a small antique store would be somehow deeply satisfying, I would have shook my head in serious doubt.

So from one daughter to another, one daughter to a son, don’t forget to enjoy your parents. Alzheimer’s or not. You can still enjoy their company. You don’t always have to go somewhere or do something, but don’t count it out.

  • Take your dad to a car show. Most guys like cars, or gun show or a baseball game. If he liked it when he was young, it’s likely he still enjoys the same past-times he used to.
  • Take your mom to a doll store, or a doll show, or a craft show. The holidays are coming up and that’s when crafts explode. Women like Christmas items–nutcrackers, handmade ornaments. You don’t have to stay long, but getting out and enjoying the season gives the two of you something to do that doesn’t involve the medical community.  

Take clues from your parent’s past. What hobbies have they enjoyed through the years? Rekindle these pleasures. Whether you see if on their face or not, they’re probably enjoying themselves because those old memories are what’s left intact. Don’t let a dead-pan expression fool you. Many disease, such as Parkinson’s creates a “mask,” and hides their feelings. Notice how long they stay engaged, what they read for, how they watch other people and interact. That means their brain is active. They’re exercising those neurons in a natural way.

Continue to make memories with your parents. Each one is a gem in your pocket. The more you do together, enjoy each other’s company, the more you enjoy caring for them. It becomes much more of a two-way relationship. You’ll get just as much out of it–when you start enjoying your parents. Alzheimer’s or not.

Entry filed under: brain fitness, caring for parents, elder care, family caregiving. Tags: , , .

Should My Parent Continue to Live Alone? Questions to Ask Before You Rush In Learning To Trust Yourself, Caregivers Have Good Hearts

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. carol lindsay  |  October 25, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    My dad dies of Alzheimer’s 9 years ago. Remember that you will miss them when they’re gone. My mom still lives with me and days when she makes me crazy I remind myself to enjoy her while she’s still here.

    Reply
  • 2. AT  |  October 27, 2009 at 12:12 am

    It’s so tough to live in the moment, to remember to treasure the goodness. I’m so nervous that one day I’ll have regrets about how I lived this part of my life. Thanks for the reminder, and for the tips.

    Reply

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This Blog

Hi, I'm Carol O'Dell. This blog will include stories and lessons I've learned while caring for my mom, and now as I speak to caregivers around the country. I hope to offer suggestions, ideas and insights that will help others.

While this blog is supported by Dakim Brain Fitness, I’m not blogging to promote the Dakim company or products. Instead, I’m writing about how caring and being cared for affects your life and your family. My hope is that this blog gives you a place to learn, reflect, gain new perspective to make it another day.

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