My old mom used to enjoy shopping with me, watching movies, eating out..gossiping about relatives...

Today mom can barely follow movie plots (unless I am sitting right next to her and making her understand) , has no clue who's related to whom and just keeps repeating stories from 50 years ago....cannot stand crowds in the mall and tires quickly esp. in India

Thanks for listening. How do you all deal with a fading parent? Cry in the bathroom?

Find Care & Housing
My mom has short term memory problems that make a lot of the stuff we used to do and talk about unworkable too. We can still talk some about local news, since it plays 5 times a day and she remembers some of it. Ditto for newspaper articles - Mom reads the paper several times each day. Mom and I can still talk about the kids, but I never know if she will remember the conversation afterwards. I've "moved" a lot of the family gossip to a cousin who lost her mother and sister in the same year. My cousin is a decade older and that seemed like an age when we were younger but no time at all now when we both have aging parents, kids and grandkids to discuss.

Since Mom's long term memory is still very much intact, I have moved our conversations to the way things were. There's a facebook group where people post a lot of pictures of the town Mom grew up in so I print those out and ask her what she recognizes. We go through boxes of old family pictures and I ask her who everyone is and where the photo was taken. I ask her what Sunday dinner was like at her grandmother's house, how to make cottage cheese or store bushels of potatoes for a large family so they lasted all winter. What was it like to have uncles overseas during WWII? a brother serving in Korea? or on a Navy ship blocking Cuba? How did you make jelly during WWII when sugar was rationed?

Our outings now are often drive byes where Mom doesn't get out of the car. We still enjoy restaurant meals and there are a couple of parks where we sit under the shade and watch the people. Mom enjoyed trips to the local pool this year with her youngest great-grandchild. I set her up in a sturdy folding chair under a shaded pavilion near the children's pools where she could keep an eye on us. She's just not comfortable alone in public anymore.

I'm sadden that Mom's short term memory issues have changed our relationship and I definitely have spent my share of timing crying over it. If I don't refocus on some other topic, Mom will tell me how much her father enjoyed cornbread and how her mother made cornbread for almost every evening meal each time I serve it. Asking about when my grandmother got the foot pump powered sewing machine she still used during my childhood opens the conversation to a story I have never heard before. I encourage you to find similar topics for discussion from your mother's past. You may even find your relationship deepens even as she fades away.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to TNtechie
katydid1 Oct 1, 2018

Thank you for showing how many invaluable memories that our loved ones can still share!!! Your mom, despite having this horrible illness, is a very lucky woman and must have been a great mother to have raised someone with so much compassion and empathy!!
I'm so sorry that you're dealing with what we call Ambiguous Loss - grieving the loss of the person before they're physically gone. If you get in touch with your local Alzheimer Society and speak with a counselor, they will be able to help you through all of this and provide you with some education that could help you during this journey. They have education on Ambiguous Loss - what it is and how to deal with it. My heart goes out to you!
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to SusanF86

My mother is now in bed or a wheel chair, cannot carry on or understand conversation, has to be fed etc. She was a very intelligent, well travelled and well read person. You see them fading slowly and have to grieve the loss as they decline. Each time you see a decline, you feel it, and if they are aware they do too. You have to adjust to her decreasing abilities, and respect where she is at now. It isn't easy. Try to have some "good times" even if they are much limited compared to her previous life. ((((hugs))))
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to golden23

What a gift to your mom that you are there for her. I’ve been a caregiver for each parent at different times. My Dad with Alzheimer’s, Mom with Parkinson’s.

I created new memories. Instead of trying to do the things we used to I found new things to do and I tried to just go with the flow they were in and find a little humor in as much as I could. It’s important to laugh otherwise you’d be crying all the time.

With my Dad I always remark that I had two relationships with him. Pre Alzheimer’s and with Alzheimer’s. Once I turned my thinking around and just accepted he wasn’t the same and never would be again we found things to laugh about (a lot)and now I treasure the times we shared during the height of his Alzheimer’s!
My Mom’s cognitive changes were totally different with her Parkinson’s. It was more of a challenge because she couldn’t express herself well but we found things to do we hadn’t done before and managed to laugh a little. One thing both my parents enjoyed was when I’d sit done to chat and start reminiscing “do you remember the time such and such happened....”. We laughed at the old stories.

Good luck, and being a caregiver you’ve probably been told a million times to do this but, please take care of you!
You can’t help her if you don’t care for you!
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to Cgtimes2
97yroldmom Oct 27, 2018
Such a sweet post. I was thinking the same.
You have to say goodbye to the old mom and “love the one you’re with”.
Oh sweetheart. I know EXACTLY how you feel. Over this past year my mother has gotten progressively worse. She was living in a 55 and over community and I had caregivers come in to take care of her. It got to the point where she couldn’t cook for herself – for that matter she could kind of tell you if she was hungry but she wouldn’t know what she wanted. If you offered her suggestions, it was just too much information. She spent most of her day in bed doing nothing. She was very depressed.

Mom has a great long-term memory but zero short term memory. Right after she’s eaten breakfast, she can’t remember that she’s eaten breakfast.

This past Thursday, I moved her into a memory care facility in Maryland where I live. Of course, she is very confused, but I know over time she will get used to it.

What is wonderful about a memory care facility is that they are always there and ready to take care of them. To make sure that they eat, get their medicine, you name it.

Have I cried – every day for months. Besides it being hard to see who was your mom slipping away, having to move her into a facility just broke my heart even though I knew it was the best thing for her. I made sure that I moved as much of her furniture as I could into her one room studio and made it look as much like her own apartment as I could.
Have I cried – every day for months. Besides it being hard to see who was your mom slipping away, having to move her into a facility just broke my heart even though I knew it was the best thing for her. I made sure that I moved as much of her furniture as I could into her one room studio and made it look as much like her own apartment as I could.

We just need to remember that we need to take care of ourselves. We certainly can be there at all times for love ones, but we also have to realize that we have lives to live – jobs to do.

I would suggest joining a few groups that you can join so that you can talk face-to-face with others who are going through exactly what you got are going through.

Hang in there!!
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to Stiffdrink

I cried a lot, anywhere away from her. And then I would just love the mom I had right at that moment. I found that occasionally I was given glimpses of my old mom...just enough to keep me going. Just love her to the end!
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to Grammyteacher

Yes, you cry in the bathroom and pre-grieve the loss of the person you once knew and loved. Keep on being there for her, you really don't know what is going on in her mind, how much she's really taking in.

There will be moments of lucidity--enjoy those.

My mom is fading and repeats herself incessantly. Can't remember anything past 10 minutes ago, can't dial her phone, can't carry on a coherent conversation--AND I am currently banned from seeing her. It's hard. But, I was NEVER close to my mother, so the loss will not be devastating. I envy people who had great moms. But I had a wonderful daddy. Miss him everyday.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to Midkid58

I do wish I had a solution for you. Then we would both be better. My old mom was my best friend for years and years. We used to shop, visit, laugh & laugh & laugh. She is 80 y.o. now. I do everything under the sun for her. She lives in a senior apartment real close to us. I see her often as I am always doing something for her. Yet, she lashes out at me for not coming around. I have to find peace in the fact that she will continue to believe this no matter what I do. So peace in here. I certainly understand the crying in the bathroom. I do that quite often. My husband just does not get it. Not one bit. 😢
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to Sheri0822
97yroldmom Oct 27, 2018
Hugs to you Sheri
find a support group. Try therapy. You are stuck and in a bad spot. Remember the only person you can change is you. Not that crying is all bad if it releases the anxiety. A brisk walk will also give you a release and provide much needed help to you in both body and spirit.
You evolve, that’s what you do. Your mom is still there, just her circumstances are different, and per what you describe Wren, you are lucky because it sounds like her mind is not In terrible condition, at least not yet.

You have to get yourself to understand the change, realize your mom needs you more like you needed her growing up. Your role in your loving relationship with her has changed and will need to continue changing at the same rate as her capabilities are changing. Kind of ‘redesign’ the way you interact with her; now you’re who she relies on.
And start planning on how to enjoy the blessing of having your mother in a different way. Observe what she now enjoys and can do, for how long she can do it..for example look at old pictures with her and let her tell you stories, revive old memories, maybe do some light gardening or low effort cooking together? Even start a project -or several- with her, like creating a cooking book with her recipes for example? (I’m assuming she likes cooking, but any project would be fun and wonderful!) Maybe some reading or table games? Watching movies that she has already watched before and which she liked? (She won’t have to make an effort to understand them because she will realize she is familiar with the plot, and there are movies we all will never get tired to watch over and over!).

Re-defining what she likes and can do will not only help you create new great memories with your mom, but it will help her a great deal to feel she is still alive, useful and to stay busy and entertained.

Although I fully understand what you mean, don’t let your sadness stop you from enjoying what you have left to live and experience with your mom. Life teaches us amazing things at every stage, and I’ve come to realize that being a caregiver has been the stage of my life where I’ve experienced truly amazing growth as a person and as a daughter, and understood the true priorities in life. Don’t lose sight of the blessings that her changes bring to your life as well!
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to Rosses003

Thanks a million to all of you for your comforting words which are helping me get through each day with a little bit more mental strength....I am so grateful for the time you all spent in answering my post..
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to wren9184

See All Answers
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter