Remember to care for the carers.
The Doctor told me to treat her like she used to treat me when I was child.
I remember her being gentle but firm.
It was important that she maintain her own independence for as long as possible.
Towards the end she ran her house with her nose and ears. I could leave food cooking unattended in the kitchen. 'Is the stove still on.' she would ask, and I knew it was ready.
I never forgot the laundry in the washing machine because she heard when it was finished. She also made me get up and check the drain was clear every time she heard the washing machine empty after each cycle.
When standing alone was impossible she would still insist that she had to do the dishes. I would fool her into thinking they were already done, or that we'd do them after a rest in the lounge.
Turning off the taps so I could hear her, I would yell out "If you stop calling me and asking me if I need your help I would have finished the dishes by now."
I downloaded a Catholic radio station and gave her the iPad with earphones to use whenever I needed to make some noise. It worked a charm, though she wondered why the masses were never in Latin anymore.
The last time I let her help clean up after dinner she nearly fell. She did fall, but I caught her 'dancing with the stars' style. I twirled her on to the floor and after a bit of "are you alright and a giggle,'' she automatically started crawling towards the chairs to pull herself up.
It's how she managed whenever she fell alone. 1, 2, 3 I helped her up - and promised that she would never fall again, while I was with her...
The quibbles over using her walking frame and wheelchair began.
Gentle but firm.
Don't eat the cup. You're supposed to drink from it.
Open your mouth.
No, you haven't already taken your medicine... that was yesterday.
We never found out what type of MND she had, or whether or not the Alzheimers was a separate disease or linked to it. I did a lot of research to help me find the best ways to care for her. When I learned about Lewy Body Dementia life became a little easier.
You see it's hard to know what a demented brain comprehends. She didn't know hot from cold, or whether stand up meant sit down, or hold on meant let go... We stopped quibbling when I realised she wasn't doing any of it out of spite or fear, or just to upset me.
When she wouldn't take a step back, I started telling her to take a step forward, and somehow we managed to get to where we were going without too much more quibbling.
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