Dec 2, 2013

A Delightful Thanksgiving with Mom

All our fears that it would be “too much” for her – that she was be overwhelmed or anxious – were unfounded.

By  +Marilyn Raichle

A Delightful Thanksgiving with Mom

Prior to Thanksgiving Marilyn wrote, Thanksgiving Dilemma, Should Mom Attend?

She wrote about a dilemma that is common amongst Alzheimer's caregivers all over the world. The issue to take mom (or dad) to a family gathering, or to leave them at home (or, in the nursing home).

This is Marilyn's Thanksgiving day story.

+Alzheimer's Reading Room

*Marilyn Raichle writes The Art of Alzheimer’s – How Mother Forgot Nearly Everything and Began to Paint – a blog about her mother Jean, art and Alzheimer’s. Marilyn also works as an arts management consultant in the Greater Seattle area.

Thanksgiving was – to use mother’s favorite phrase – just delightful.

All our fears that it would be “too much” for her – that she was be overwhelmed or anxious – were unfounded.

Because we had a plan.

All too often we assume that just being with the family is enough. And in the past that idea has left Mom feeling adrift, isolated, inevitably anxious and eager to go home.

This time, I made sure that she was engaged.

We looked at photo albums and picture books. She played the piano – her very singular medley of Polly Waddle Doodle and Silent Night – the two songs she plays from memory.

She had chores – filling the glasses with ice, folding the napkins, making sure the silverware was set correctly.

There were moments of confusion but nothing that caused her anxiety.

 “My family is going to take me to dinner,” she confided. “Oh, that sounds like so much fun!” I would answer.

And the food… She loved the food, eating everything but making sure she had room for dessert.

After small slices of both the apple and pumpkin pie, she kept eyeing the kitchen counter. “Are those pies?” she would ask with a gleam in her eye. “I wonder if I can have a piece.”

Mindful of triggering elevated sugar levels, I would bring her miniature slices – no larger than mouthful – which she ate with immense satisfaction.

We drove home thankful for a wonderful day together.

A Very Happy Thanksgiving.


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