perpetual children

My brother Matt and his wife Stacey take care of my mom, an eighty-one year old who has had Alzheimer's probably for about ten years, perhaps longer. She's on the slow burn, still happy, upbeat and active, laughs at jokes and cracks some of her own. She engages pretty well in conversation as long as it's moving forward. She takes several daily walks, stretches and exercises her body and her brain. They've got her on a pretty tight regimen and I have no doubt that contributes greatly to her well being.

What Matt and Stacey deal with is not too dissimilar from raising Calvin, and thankfully they've got the part-time help of an in-home caregiver like we do for Calvin. Mom must take several medications in the morning and at night, she's on a strict diet to avoid gastrointestinal upset, she gets up at the same time, naps and goes to bed at the same time every day with little fluctuation, just like Calvin. She has to be watched—constantly—or she's bound to get into something undesirable, like eating a bite out of a spoiled moldy orange, or downing an entire glass of wine that isn't hers (she's not supposed to have alcohol.) Without going into too much detail, mom's hygiene is very closely monitored from morning shower to toilet time to readying for bed, just like we do with Calvin.

Mom's short term memory is pretty much shot, though sometimes she surprises me, and her long term memory has started to go. She recognizes photos of my dad but sometimes doesn't remember who he is and her receptive and expressive communication are beginning to show signs of wear. Often her responses to questions are complete non sequiturs, usually when she is tired.

So, my brother, who doesn't have kids but takes care of my mom, and I, who have a seven-year-old going on two, find ourselves in somewhat parallel universes, raising perpetual children. But it seems like we're both well cut out for the job. After all, we had the best mom and dad to prepare us.

Matt, mom and me

No comments:

Post a Comment