My mother has Alzheimer's, a disease that affects
both memory and cognitive abilities. What follows
is an actual conversation I had with my mom. I
want to show those caregivers whose family members
are still in the earlier stages of Alzheimerís how
it can manifest and that patience is the greatest
skill caregivers can have.
Me: Hi, Mom.
Mom: Oh, hi, Julie; I didnít know you were here.
Me: Yea, Iíve been here for a couple of weeks. What
are you up to today?
Mom: Oh, you know, not much.
Me: Do you have any plans for today?
Mom: No, not
Me: What are you doing now?
making lunch for your dad.
Me: Maybe you should
wait a little bit. Itís only 10:00.
Mom: I just
talked to him. He said heís on his way.
you see this note that he wonít be home for lunch
Mom: Oh, (reading the note) I will not be
home for lunch today; chicken for dinner. Oh, ok.
Me: What are you up to now?
Mom: Just making
lunch for Dad.
Me: Itís kind of early. Are you
sure heís coming home for lunch?
Mom: Yea, heís
upstairs sleeping. Heís not feeling well. He said
heíd be right down for soup. (Reading the note
again) I will not be home for lunch. Oh, but he said
he was coming down anyway. Heís late getting up this
Me: I think Dad is at the office.
Me: Please leave the cat dishes there.
Mom: I canít find my cats.
Me: We just saw them.
They need their food and water, or they will go
Mom: Oh, ok. I havenít seen my cats for
days. They ran away.
Me: I just saw Max in the
hallway. Please donít put the cat dishes in the
Mom: My cats are gone. They died a
Me: My cats are here, and they need
some food to eat. Please stop putting the dishes
full of food in the dining room.
Mom: Your dad
should be home for lunch soon.
Me: Oh, he left a
note on the table saying he wouldnít be home for
Mom: Thereís a sandwich on the
counter for him.
Me: I donít think Dad will be
home for lunch. Itís a few hours from lunch time
anyways. Do you want to eat the sandwich?
No, itís for your dad.
Me: Letís wrap it up and
put it away. Do you want the soup?
Mom: No. I
canít find my cats.
Me: Please leave the cat
dishes there. Iíve seen the cats all around.
I used to have cats. I donít know what happened to
Me: Itís still morning. Letís put the raw
chicken for dinner back in the fridge.
Weíre having that for dinner.
Me: I know, but we
shouldnít leave raw meat out all day.
Me: See? Your cats are all around.
Mom: (Reading note again) I will not be home for
lunch today; chicken for dinner. Oh, I guess your
dad wonít be home for lunch.
Me: Mom, please
leave the raw chicken in the fridge. Itís only 10:00
in the morning.
Mom: I need to make lunch for
Me: I donít think he will be home for lunch.
Mom: Oh, I made soup. He must not be feeling well.
Is he upstairs sleeping?
Me: No, heís at the
Mom: I just got off the phone with him.
Heís on his way.
Me: Look, he left a note saying
he wonít be home for lunch today. I think he said he
had a meeting to go to.
Mom: (Reading note again)
Oh, and chicken for dinner.
Me: Please leave the
cat food out. The cats need to eat.
Mom: But I
havenít seen my cats for weeks. I think they ran
Me: We just saw Max.
Mom: Oh. Your dadís
on his way home for dinner.
Me: Mom, itís still
morning. Leave the chicken in the fridge.
Have you seen my cats?
Me: Do you have anything
you need to do today?
Mom: No, not really. Itís
kind of boring being in a big house all day.
Is there any laundry to do?
Mom: Yea. Thereís a
lot to do in such a big house.
Me: Please leave
the cat dishes right there.
Mom: But I donít have
Me: Iím sure we just saw one of
them. My cats are here too, and they need food to
Mom: Oh, are you sure? I havenít seen my
cats in ages.
Me: Max was just here, and Callie
sleeps on you every night.
Mom: Your dad just
called. Heís on his way home for lunch.
like he left a note.
Mom: (Reading note) I will
not be home for lunch today; chicken for dinner. Oh,
better defrost some chicken.
defrosted chicken in the fridge already. You should
leave it there. Itís still morning.
Mom: I want a
Julianne Victoria is a writer, healer,
and spiritual counselor living in San Francisco. Her
writing has appeared in Buddhadharma magazine,
Spirit Journal, the Washington Massage Journal, and
online at To Be Aware (www.2baware.net)
and Through the Peacockís Eyes (www.juliannevictoria.com).
She is working on her books, two of which address
mental illness and dementia, while helping her dad
care for her mom who has Alzheimerís.
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