Alzheimer’s Christmas Visit

My family, like lots of other families, began learning about Alzheimer’s this past year. My mother is most fortunate to have a tight knit family that surrounds her. She has had her ups and downs this year. But the downs have been few, but they can be intense. My sweet sister is in a position to live with my mom and she has dealt with most of these downs on her own. She and I and all of my nieces and nephews work well together.

This Christmas week started off with a call from Chase bank on Tuesday about my mother’s checking account. Apparently someone tried to use her debit card information to make a purchase either over the phone or on the internet. It was declined and the bank deactivated her debit card. That upset her.

She took some money out of her checking account last weekend. When she woke up Christmas Eve morning she couldn’t find the money. She became very upset because she thought she didn’t have any Christmas gifts for us. My sister took her to the tree and showed her the presents from my mom to all of us.

This unsettled her, she realized (again) that she has Alzheimer’s and that she will not get better. My sister had to work Christmas Eve and suggested that I call her later in the day to check on her. Right now my mother is still in a position that she is fine on her own for short periods of time.

When I called her later in the day she sounded a little befuddled and down. As we talked her mood seemed to change. She was still concerned about the money that she had misplaced. I told her not to worry about it, that it would show up. Then I changed the subject to us all getting together the next day. This lifted her spirits. Nothing pleases her more than being surrounded by her family. Especially her great grandson, Henry.

KODAK Digital Still CameraWhen we arrived at her house Christmas day she was in good spirits. As her gifts were handed out she watched to see what was in the boxes as they were opened. But she said nothing. She was sitting next to me as I was handed her gift. I looked at her and asked “What did you get me?” She laughed and shrugged her shoulders. I said “It will be a surprise for both of us!” and she laughed.

She watched with interest as I opened the gift. She genuinely didn’t know what was in the box. When I opened it, there was a case for my crochet hooks, a Jo-Ann’s gift card, and a jar of buttons. When she saw the jar of buttons, she shouted happily, “I bought those!!”

She remembered buying the buttons with my sister at the antique store. I know she received help in selecting my gifts. But my mother’s love and thoughtfulness still make me cry.

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