Carol Howell Talks Dementia: Dementia and Visiting Often

“Knock, knock. Good morning. I brought you something!” This is how the day will start for my mother the majority of the time. I will kiss her, hug her, and then proceed to talk junk to her (anything to make her smile and laugh) while she goes through the morning routine of getting ready for the day. The last few days have been crazy busy for me, and that has affected Momma’s daily routine. It took me a few days to figure this out.

“Good morning! How is my favorite Momma today?” That was how the last several days started for Momma, but they did so via the telephone. Early appointments caused me to be unable to visit Momma and awaken her in person. Even so, Momma responded kindly and upbeat, and she even proceeded to begin the tasks of getting ready for the day. She did so a bit begrudgingly, but she did it.

I was looking back on those days as we explained to the doctor Momma’s health concerns. She just was not feeling well. This complaint. That complaint. She was just feeling yucky. That was when I said, “It probably hasn’t helped that I have not personally visited the last few mornings. I have done so by phone.” At that point, Momma quickly turned to me and said, “You are probably right!”

I was not sure if I should feel proud that Momma enjoyed our time together so much, or maybe I should feel badly that I had been forced to shake up her routine. Either way, I was reminded of this important thought. Maintaining a routine can be very important to someone with dementia. Equally, changing that routine can have negative effects. Not knowing what to expect can be frightening and confusing. It can lead to agitation, depression, decrease in appetite, and many other negative outcomes.

Today I will be making a fruit and veggie smoothie, leaving a little early, and going to Momma’s to help her start her day. I expect to hear, “Good Morning, how is my girl today?” I hope that is what Momma will say, and I will thus be given the fuel I need to venture into the world of caregiving. Routine is important. It may seem like a little thing, but it can have big consequences.

Hope that gives you Something To Ponder.