Saturday, 23 January 2016

Mum ever mindful of living in care

I'm not complaining at all because it seems to be quite natural, but it strikes me that every time I go up to see mum in the nursing home she will talk about how she is living in care. Sometimes she will just say that she likes living in the place and that she has no complaints about it. I think that's what happened when my cousin went up to see her two days ago. He told me she seems happy where she is, and that she speaks highly of the place as it has everything she needs. Mum is also in the habit of making such comments when she and I are talking on the iPad to my brother, who lives in the United States.

So I've had this kind of feedback from mum many a time. For example, if we go out to the park on a sunny day to watch the dogs run around I might take out my mobile phone and shoot a recording of our conversation. I might start off by saying something like, "How are things?" The remark can be casual but she'll take it to heart and say something like, "Oh I'm happy where I am, the food is good and they look after me." But a couple of times recently she has been coming across a little more macabre when talking about her situation. For example a day or so ago she said to me, "You know I'll probably see the rest of my days out here. It's a good place and the food is fine." She has said similar things to me a couple of times now.

It's not that she's being unduly pessimistic, I think. I made a video of mum on New Year's Day and she was positive about things in general. "I want to live another year. I'm prepared to live another year." She was very definite about it and so I asked again. "So you want to live for another year?" "Oh at least another year," she answered. No doubt about it. Which is a good sign from my point of view.

Nevertheless she has been in the way of placing her living situation recently in the context of her lifespan in the ways outlined above. I don't think there has been any major change in her life that would necessarily prompt her to say these kinds of things, but you can never know what a person living with dementia is experiencing, because they might in the natural course of things forget what had happened to them, if anything untoward had happened that is. Mum cannot remember that she gets up in the middle of the night and visits the rooms of other residents, for example, even though it is true that she does so. It's just that the residue of some events might remain invisible but still present in her mental matrix, and so there might be subtle changes in the way things are expressed from week to week. 

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