I have mentioned previously that my mother has LBD. I am her guardian, and see to her personal, medical, and day to day needs. My sister downstate sees to her financial and business affairs. (She has the tougher end of the bargain - she says I do. Let's just say that we're each well-suited to our tasks.) My mom lives in a small, friendly nursing home with a family atmosphere 4 minutes from my house - 1/3 mile as the crow flies. So I can see her, or take her out, frequently. Unfortunately, as time goes on she is less and less comfortable away from her home. though...

But last week was my husband's Christmas party for his job. They held it at a restaurant about 10 miles west of town. So while he went and partied with his cronies, my mom and I also got a table and had our own lunch. Afterward we took a drive to a town about 25 miles further out, as I wanted to show my mom and Pete the wind farm out there that I had discovered earlier. While there we also stopped at an Amish store to get lots of bargains (and probably spent 20-25% of retail cost on few dozen items!).

My mom really enjoyed herself. It is the longest - and farthest - she'd been from her home in probably 2 years. She had never been to this area, but was telling us about who lived in each house, and her memories of living there, of seeing the massive electricity-generating windmills in her yard (she grew up in the 30's and 40's), of her childhood friends and walking to school with them and playing outside, and all sorts of "memories" that existed only in her own mind.  And she was thrilled.

It is common knowledge that those with dementia are incapable of entering our reality. What many people have a hard time with is entering theirs. The temptation is great to say, "Oh no, mom, you've never been to this part of the state before, and you grew up hundreds of miles from here!" but seriously, what would be the benefit of that? She was enjoying her memories, and she was out getting sunshine and fresh air, and she was excited and happy.

She lives in the moment. She doesn't remember yesterday, or even that same morning, or 5 minutes ago. She can't conceive of tomorrow, or any sort of future. Her life consists of the present. She will see something and within seconds she believes it to be a long-distant memory, as the concept of time has become so fuzzy...

My mom comes to my house on Sundays. We pick her up after church, and she stays for supper, and then becomes very anxious to get home. But while she's here she will look out the windows at the neighborhood and describe to me how it was part of her distant past. There is no "a week ago" or even "every Sunday for the last 4½ years" - just distance.

Anyway - it is all about moments, and giving her good ones. She won't remember these moments, good or bad, but in the present I want all of her moments to be filled with good  memories of things, whether they're real or not. And I want her to see the world through eyes of happy experiences - whether they are real, or exist only in her own reality.
 


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