Monday, November 22, 2010

NAAAOW, I'm not going to that Christmas Party. Where's me cat?

Oh boy, it was fun getting mum to the Anglican Retirement Christmas Party. I hadn't intended even to tell her it was on because the first time it was mentioned back in October, she'd been so violently opposed to the idea.

Anglican Retirement are the government-funded group who do Mum's in-home care every weekday. Mum's carer, Tracie, really wanted her to go to this party.

But Tracie still hasn't learnt you don't tell Mum ANYTHING. She just panics over it and gets paranoid. The day before the party, Tracie was asking Mum if she remembered she had to go to the party. Since Mum knew nothing about it, Tracie thought I must have forgotten, so she asked my son in Mum's presence to make sure I was bringing her.

All this talk of bloody horrible Christmas parties reinforced the idea in Mum's brain that there actually was a party happening. When you want her short-term memory not to work, it works perfectly. And the memory of the coming torture-party was still there the next day.

She was on the phone to me saying, "I'm not going to that Christmas party! NAAAAOW! I won't go there! If you take me there, I won't get out of the car!"

I said, "Mum, I don't know what you are talking about. I think I have to go to work today, I'm just waiting for a phone call."

She seemed happy about that. Of course, I had already decided I was NOT going to work due to the Christmas party.

So Mum assumed I was at work and somehow managed to REMEMBER I was at work and did not call again.

At 11 a.m., I went over to her place and knocked on the door. I said, "I'm finished work early - do you want to go out for lunch?"

Thankfully, all thoughts of the Christmas party had vanished from her brain. She got her coat and bag (she wears a coat even in summer) and off we went to the venue, which looked something like the club where we always have lunch.

She didn't even notice we were driving south instead of north. She never does know where we are going any more.

When we got there, I took her in the lift to the function room. She complained and said she'd never noticed a lift in the club before. I told her there'd been alterations and extensions to the building.

When you have someone with Alzheimers you just have to lie sometimes!

We got out of the lift and there was Tracie, sitting a table handing out name tags!

"What are you doing up here?" I asked her. "This is where the Christmas party is!" she replied. "Christmas party? What Christmas party?" I said.

Mum looked very confused and unimpressed.

"Oh well, Mum, now that we're here, we may as well stay. The food is free at least."

So she put on her name tag and agreed to sit down. Then she actually managed to have a good time. There were Christmas carols by Sing Australia and the food was great.

But getting her there made me a nervous wreck.


  1. It's looks like a very nice Christmas party, and your mother looks very satisfied. You pulled this off very well! Things like this sure can be difficult though.

    Hope you have a great week!

  2. Is Tracie more informed now? Here in America we have Thanksgiving before Christmas. My husband has to keep being reminded that we have six people coming over for Thanksgiving. I will have to remind him every day and hopefully he will cooperate and help clean our carpets.

    Happy Holidays to you and your mother.


  3. Thanks girls...yes, I PULLED IT OFF this time, but I might not be so lucky next time!

  4. Good to see the funny side! Much like how I deal with my Mum, horrible thing is I had to do this to get Mum into a rest home, life had become just so ridiculous with the daily dramas I was dealing with and the anxiety Mum was suffering. Anyway things have settled down now and she was allowed to have her cat which was a HUGE deal! She doesn't have the anxiety attacks now (no medication, just feeling secure I suppose) and no more brandy required which is amazing. There are still issues but I am now feeling at peace with my Mum and am enjoying our times together far more than I was. Good luck to you with yours.

  5. Thanks Stef, Mum is also going into a rest home on Monday. Unfortunately they don't allow cats but I live only a short distance away so she can come to my place and visit the cat. Things got too hard for me. I am not very good at this caregiving, not like those who can carry on even with incontinence and worse problems than Mum has. My nerves were shot to pieces in the end. I just couldn't take the dozens of phone calls every day about crazy things that weren't real and the constant demands. Her short term memory has got so bad she can't recall things that happened ten seconds ago most of the time.


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