It must be incredibly frustrating to lose one’s memory. We’ve all been there. It’s like when you’re having a pleasant conversation with a friend and something happens to distract you, and when you turn back to continue talking, you can’t remember what you were discussing.
For my mother, at almost 84 years of age, it’s gone far beyond. It started with the memory, then progressed to logic. For instance, last weekend I came down the stairs to find her trying to drag Alex into the next room by the hand. When I asked her what she was doing, she said he’d been bugging the hell out of her, screaming in her ear but now she was trying to get him into the next room to hook him up to his feeding pump.
“It doesn’t matter what I do,” she said. “I try ignoring him, but whenever I walk away he follows me.”
“So, why are you trying to drag him?” I asked.
“Because when I ask him, he won’t come with me,” she answered. “He won’t do anything I ask him.”
“So just walk away… he’ll follow you…”
I waited for her to get it, but she didn’t–not even when she walked into the room where his feeding pump was, and he followed her.
Most of the time, all I can do is roll my eyes.
Now, however, she’s in the hospital with pneumonia. They’re talking about letting her out on Wednesday, but her memory has begun to get so bad that she can’t remember what day it is. Not a good combination when she has meds to take.
I’m going to have to seriously start looking into retirement homes, before I end up in the hospital, sick with stress. That I’m going to have to figure out a way to look after her is precisely why I wanted to have more than one child: I didn’t expect two of them would probably never be independent, let alone unable to help with my care when I get to my mother’s age. Government and community run home care is going to be an even worse state than it is now; I’m at the tail end of the baby boom, and resources and funds will surely be depleted.
Now, where was I? Oh yes. Memory. If I leave my mother on her own I’m afraid she’ll under- or over-medicate herself. Just last weekend, she forgot it was still Saturday and she took Sunday’s pills as well. She needs supervision. There’s no way Alex would let her get a moment’s rest here – so what do I do? I’m only one person. I can ask my friend, John, to help out, but he has a life and a job. I need a babysitter for my mother.
The sandwich generation strikes again.