Spending time in a small town can be a rewarding and sometimes challenging experience. There are many conversations that I get drawn into because someone knows my Mother. She was raised in this community left in her younger years, and then returned in retirement so she knows many people.
I attended an event recently where there were a number of seniors present and I found myself doing some serious soul searching after speaking with some of them. Some of those that speak with her frequently mentioned to me that she was lonely. My first instinct was that she was trying to convince them that she needed the visits, however as I thought about it more I wondered if she was lonely. It is difficult because it seems in a small town everyone has something to say. (whether you want to hear it or not) This was something that we have discussed and she is always fine. So now I need to discover if she is lonely without discussing being lonely. Such an easy task!
Communication with my Mom with this disease is so different. Serious conversation has to be handled slow and gentle. We had a discussion about missing some friends that she had not spoken to in sometime. She acknowledged that it was not easy to have lost some connections with friends but she still had lots of people to visit with. I asked her if she found it hard sometimes to put the day in, but she was fine and everything was fine. These conversations were intertwined with other conversation of course because too much discussion about a challenging subject seems to encourage silence on her part. After 3 weeks of conversation I truly realized that she was lonely. She had friends and neighbours in her building but it seemed that was not enough anymore. It was coming closer to a time to look at what was going to be the next step.
I have also noticed more forgetfulness and it has caused more concerns about safety. It has been over 2 years since Mom was diagnosed and we have worked hard to manage this disease. I am happy with the way we have put a team in place and we have kept her in her own home as she wished. Her happiness and safety is foremost on my mind. I know that we can’t continue on the same as we are since we seem to be moving into a new stage of this disease. This was overwhelming for me to think about; I can only imagine how she would feel. I discussed this with the doctor and with friends and family. There were varied thoughts and opinions and processing everything certainly is challenging. It is a difficult time trying to make a decision based on logical thought when our emotions are so very strong. We need to make a decision and we have to do it soon.