Saturday, March 20, 2010

We All Want to Feel Beautiful - even a 78 year old with Alzheimer's

This week has been a little tough because Pat is fighting off a cold she got from her daughter's last weekend.  It's made it tough on all of us because she is worse than a little kid at times. She has just felt icky and tired.

I gave her her bath this morning, 3 days later than normal, because I know she hasn't felt up to it. Or maybe because I know how much harder it will be for me with her feeling this way. Either way, we prolonged it.

After her bath, I picked her hair for her. This is something I have started doing lately because she only pretends to lift her hair. If I don't do it, her hair is matted and she looks pathetic, for lack of a better word.

Anyway, today I picked out her hair and she pointed out that when she smiles the side of her face is all wrinkly. It occurred to me, in that instant, that just because you get older or have Alzheimer's, you don't stop caring about your appearance. You still want to look the best you can.

Starting today, I am going to take more time on lifting her hair, helping her with jewelry and clothese selections. It's not just about making sure she is cared for... provided for.

It's about holding on to her dignity.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Pat had a Birthday

Pat turned 78 a couple weeks ago and we had a great time! We had 2 of her friends, her son, my mother, and Mark, Summer, and I. We ate at her favorite restaraunt and sang happy birthday to her. I was emotional, as I watched her. It was just so good to see her happy and interacting instead of just existing.

We came home, let her eat more sweets (what everyone bought for her), set up her new puzzle, and continued to make the day hers. I bought a birthday card that said on the front, "You rock girl!" and she laughed about it everytime she looked at it. And at one point even said, "That's great Chris". Her tone reminded me of the old Pat, the good time loving Pat, not the worried all the time Pat.

The whole day was special for her. And by morning it was like it never happened. In fact, the whole day was spent reminding her where the cards came from. Eventually we just let the memories fade away. They were good while they lasted and reminding her only upsets her. She is upset that she forgets such big pieces of her life now.

But I think she still, for now, knows we love her very much.