Here are five things I’ve been learning from her and others in her assisted living facility.
1. Take baby steps.
Tasks that we find simple, like washing your hair, can be quite overwhelming to those with Alzheimer’s. We don’t think of them as the multi-step processes they are.
So I’m learning that breaking things into baby steps—one thing at a time—works far better with my mom. Don’t say, “We’re going to the doctor.” Start instead with, “Let’s stand up.”
So when I’m overwhelmed with my own tasks, sometimes looking only at what I need to do next works best for me, too.
2. Ask for what you need.
I’ve noticed that many of the residents have no hang-ups about asking any passerby for what they need. I’ve been asked to take people home, to make phone calls, to find their husband, to get drinks, etc.
I’m not usually able to fulfill their requests but I appreciate their understanding that to get what you need, sometimes you’ve got to ask for help. I’m slow in this area; I’ll often go without, if it means asking for help to get it. This lesson I really need to take to heart.
3. Staying put is easier than moving on.
But it’s not always better.
My mom does not like transitions. At all. She may want to go to bed, but she doesn’t want to leave the chair she’s in to get there.
I don’t always like taking the actions required either to get from where I am to where I want to be. But sometimes we just gotta take ‘em anyway. If Mama can do it, I can, too.
4. Life won’t always make sense.
Mrs. B told me yesterday, “This is a strange place.” They keep taking her to a strange room, she said, instead of her own room.
Yes, Mrs. B, this is a strange place for all of us.
But that’s okay. We don’t always have to understand life to live it well. We just need to know that there is Someone who knows exactly what’s going on, and who is loving us through it.
5. Your most important moment? This one.
While thinking about our past and planning for our future are definitely worthwhile and necessary activities, the present is where we should live. I’m learning that, too, from my mom. More and more.
She now lives with no regrets, no guilt. Neither does she worry about what the future holds, what she will eat or wear tomorrow. She’s present in the moment.
Not a bad example to be setting, Mama... Thank you.
31 Do not be anxious, saying,
'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'
32 …your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,
and all these things will be added to you.
34 Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow,
for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.
Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
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What lesson have you learned from your mama lately?
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