I actually feel I've been adjusting to Mom's mental decline pretty well (well, as well as a person can). But some days are still heartbreaking.
Yesterday I was talking to Mom and she was going on about how she's living in this strange house and that she's eager to get back to her old one. Never mind that she's lived in the same house for 50 years and has never lived anywhere else during that time.
Mom was surprised that my niece and nephew had found out where she was living now, but was glad they were there. She was having trouble recalling my little sister's name. She knew that her neighbors lived across the street still (they've also lived there about as long as my mom has), but didn't think her other neighbors lived next door to this "new place." (They still do)
Mom talks to me about the house I lived in for most of my life as if it's an unfamiliar place.
Dementia is such a bizarre and fascinating disease. From a scientific point of view, it's so fascinating to me that a person can actually forget (and even misremember) their siblings or children's names or the way their own parents died or think that the house they've lived in for more than half their life is not the same place. And it's amazing to me what a quick downward spiral she has taken in recent months.
And yet it's also funny the things she still remembers. Some of them seem so insignificant, yet her brain has accurately captured them in great detail.
Dementia is a sad disease. It is hard to watch a person you love mentally waste away and know that each day you lose more and more of the person she was. And it's hard knowing that Mom can never fully take care of herself again.
And yet..., the disease is harder on those of us watching it happen. Mom seems blissfully unaware of her mental decline. She actually seems quite content and childlike, over all.
I predict it will not be very much longer (within the next year, I would think) that Mom will have to move into an assisted-living facility. And actually, I think she will be better off, and I think we will, too. I just wish these places weren't so damn expensive.
I think initially she will resent the move and be upset with us, but I do believe she will eventually grow to like it and will benefit from it. It's the initial part that I am not looking forward to.
But like I've said, I'm trying to make the best memories with the mom that is rather than lament who she was.