Mom was stable for a long time. She gets such good care where she lives, and we were in an easy routine, and I felt like I didn’t have anything to write about in this blog. So I let it go…
Earlier this year, I came to the difficult decision that I won’t be able to take her back to Ohio to visit family anymore. The long flights are just too difficult for someone with incontinence and dementia; the potential for a bad situation that would make the flight miserable for everyone was just too high. I agonized over making that decision, knowing it would mean she will never see certain members of her family again in this life… but the time had come. My first priority in caring for her is to keep her safe and to keep her out of distressing situations.
Today I realized that we’ve reached another milestone. Her legs have become so weak, she could hardly make it from the door of the house to the car parked in the driveway, even with her walker. I took her to have brunch with her two granddaughters, my nieces, and parked directly across the street from the door to the restaurant. That short of a walk was too much for her, and she had to stop and sit on a bench in front of the restaurant. She’s gone from a slightly shuffling gate to dragging herself along, leaning so heavily on the walker that I kept my arm around her in case she toppled over. When we got back to her care home, she had barely taken two steps from the car before she told me she was afraid she was going to fall. I walked behind her, holding onto her hips with both hands, reassuring her that I wouldn’t let her fall… But she faltered at the single step up to the door of the facility, and I had to ring the bell for help. Mom was bent nearly double over the walker when the door opened, and the caregiver took one look at her and called for a wheelchair.
Once we’d gotten her comfortably settled in her recliner, I quietly thanked the caregiver and told her that I think I need to buy a wheelchair. She nodded and said gently, “It’s time.”