Life lessons

A few weeks ago I persuaded my mum to visit a local care home one day a week just so that she had people to talk to, things to do and something to tell me about.  Much to my relief this has been a great success.  The home is just like a 5* hotel.  It's stylish, sophisticated and the residents are all friendly and chatty.  Mum loves going but sometimes I think it's just too much effort for her.  Today was one of those days.  We'd had a busy day yesterday with a visit to the (now) 5 year old and the rest of the family, out for lunch and a walk back from the bistro so when she rang this morning to say it was icy (it wasn't) and she didn't want to go out I gave her the benefit of the doubt and, deciding she was just tired, told her that I'd be there in an hour to collect her so she needed to start getting ready.  When I arrived she was dressed but grumpy.  I ignored the grumpiness and started fastening curtains back and tidying up around the house while she put her make-up on and found her shoes and coat.  By the time we were ready to leave she was looking and sounding better.  When we arrived she stood in front of the grand glass doors as they swished open, her shoulders went back, her head came up and she strode in looking forward to the day ahead.  Now I could have agreed with her when she told me she didn't want to go but I recognised that what she needed was to do something special which would make her feel good about herself.  When she goes there she feels valued; she's welcomed by name as  she walks in the building, the permanent residents are pleased to see someone new and she enjoys her 3 course lunch served on white table linen with a glass of wine to fortify her for the afternoon ahead.   We actually call it her posh luncheon club rather than 'the care home'.

This I think is a lesson for those of us dealing with dementia and all it's trials and tribulations.  All anyone wants is to feel valued and special and, however difficult it may be, that's what we should be aiming for.  Do the best you can, create a life that's stylish and interesting, don't ever think your loved one won't know what's happening and make the very best of what you have while you still have it.