Dementia and Trouser Socks

Momma’s socks will not stay up. She tugs and pulls and spurts out a few less than socially acceptable words about the socks. Thankfully, this is a problem easily solved. A quick trip to the nearest pharmacy (don’t you just love stores that are quick in and quick out??), and a package of three pairs of pretty trouser socks were now in Momma’s possession. We put one of those pairs on her while still in the pharmacy parking lot. Mission accomplished. Problem solved.

Problem solved? Well maybe not. Momma has mid-stage Alzheimer’s, and she forgets most everything that has recently occurred. After purchasing the socks, I took her back to the assisted living, and then I proceeded to return to my office. About half-mile into my trip, the phone rang. “Carol,” says. (She actually said, “Cay-roll.” That is how she says my name when she is irritated or thinks life just isn’t quite right.) “The package of socks we just purchased says it has three pairs. I just looked, and there are only two pairs in the package. We got gypped!”

I explained to Momma that she had on the third pair that was assumed missing. “When did I put them on?” she asked. I explained, and she said, “I’m glad I’ve got you to keep me straight.”

“My pleasure, Momma.”

And it really is my pleasure. I don’t want to remind Momma of things that happened less than ten minutes ago, but I certainly will. I’m pretty sure she didn’t WANT to be awakened in the middle of the night to feed and care for me when I was a baby. I doubt she enjoyed holding me while I cried over boyfriends, high school issues, split ends, and acne. She did all these things with a love in her heart and a smile on her face. I am most happy to return the love to Momma.

Smiling, being patient, taking a moment to be nice, and remembering the good times are all key to a successful caregiving journey. Hope that gives you Something to Ponder.

Carol Howell
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