Am I in a place to give advice about how you should encourage your loved one to remain independent? I think I’m not. That wouldn’t be safe. I’m not an expert. However, I have learnt that pretty much all health (not only mental health and dementia) is specific to the individual. So this means I’m kind of trusting my gut with certain things and going with it. Remembering safety at all times.
So this is where we are at: Since mum has been feeling a little better (more on that in another post but I didn’t feel like posting a gloomy update) I have tried to encourage her to get back a little independence.
Such as, she will need to hang on to someone or something to walk these days. She has this three wheeled thing. One minute she wanted to throw it back at the occupational therapist (OT) who suggested it and the next thing it was amazing! I walked with Harley and mum used the walker thing. We went to the shop, two minutes down the road and she went in, chose some shopping and paid for it by herself. The staff know mum which is helpful. They even checked that I was outside with the dog so she wasn’t roaming alone. Kindness carries so much weight with me and this was totally amazing for mum.
Many cognitive skills were used during this small trip and while I watched her every move through the window, she was in the shop, making decisions and just being Margaret. Silly, funny and all. On the days she can, I feel she should do things like this. Remembering she isn’t hopeless or useless. Just sometimes needing help and support.
On that note, this has been a tough year for mum. She has survived the massive heart attack, been diagnosed with mixed dementia, moved in with us and all the chaos and basically had her life turned upside down. Last year I watched her on Christmas eve, signing along at Church, tapping her foot. Tears came into my eyes as I realised she was so brave. The first Christmas without dad. Yet this year, he is still not here and yet she has the everyday fear of living with these conditions. Yet I can tell you now, she will sing, tap her foot and remain braver than ever.
Those of you who have supported mum this year (she has many amazing friends) are truly life chantingly wonderful. Thank you.
Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas. Be happy and laugh lots. x