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When a normal day with your demented parent is alarming

I visited with my parents yesterday. They both have moderate dementia but fail to recognize it in themselves or each other. They are now my “Gang of Two.”

Many parts of the visit felt normal. Then I get home to tell my husband and start with “Well, they were at the townhouse because they thought my brother was flying in today.”

I am very sure neither brother was flying in. My parents can’t recall why they thought that. I rearrange my plan for the day by taking them with me to a tennis match. They sat in the stands and cheered me on. We then went grocery shopping and I took them back to their retirement community.

As I’m leaving a tornado warning is announced and the power at the retirement community goes out. We light candles and chit-chat as we watch the storm clouds roll through.  When the storm subsides, I head home. It was a nice visit with my parents.

We had a few contentious moments when they bring up the car issue but it quickly passes. I stick to the minimal facts, tell them we love them and I understand how they must feel frustrated.

I realize the day only seemed like the old normal because we had a pleasant time together. I didn’t leave in tears, frustrated or totally depressed. The advice about keeping busy is true for both care giver and someone with dementia.

I love the expression “idle hands are the devil’s workshop” and have seen how true that is when it comes to spending time with my parents. When in motion, my mom doesn’t have time to focus on her broken record topics.

Getting them out of their home and having an activity to watch or a task to accomplish makes a world of difference. Fascinated.

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