Friday, April 28, 2017

My Climbing Mother

Hello Everyone!

I wanted to do a new video today, but something happened that made me sad, and I couldn't get the mood back again.

And you KNOW my lightning fast mind.  I just now realized that if I type what I want to say, you can't tell my face is sad today -- except that I always tell you everything anyway!

I'd love to join this little lady in her pity party, but I don't want to WEAR the wine tomorrow.

And besides that, ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD TO THOSE THAT LOVE THE LORD, so it is just a matter of time before my face fits my name again.

I heard the BEST sermon by Joel Osteen last week.  It was about NOT GIVING YOUR JOY AWAY.  Soooooo good!

I really love the way that man thinks.  He said it is bad enough that someone hurts you, or you get stuck in a traffic jam, or you get fired, or, or, or --  but don't give them your joy too.  The Bible says the JOY OF THE LORD IS OUR STRENGTH.  Give me a second, and I'll tell you where it is in the Bible.  (Nehemiah 8:10)  Right now, more than ever, I need all the STRENGTH I can muster.

For my friends that have experience with the elderly and dementia, I would love to hear your opinion on the following issue I am having with my Mom.

My Mom has lived alone for the past 20 years in a double-wide trailer on a little lake about 3 hours away from where we live.  She had white pull-down shades on all of her windows.  Every evening she would go through her whole house and pull all of those blinds completely down.  She would check all the doors and make sure they were locked.

Mom now lives in our house, as you know.  Most of my windows have mini blinds in them, but there is one window over my sink in the kitchen that has an accordion blind that pulls up and down with one long cord.  Hold on.  A picture is worth a thousand words.

In the following pic, NOTICE THE LONG CORD laying inside the windowsill.  Notice the shade is pulled all the way up to the top of the window.
The next picture shows the bar stool she drags over to the sink to CLIMB UP ON!
Notice the faucet.
This last picture shows the blind when it is properly closed.
NOTICE the faucet.
Mom grabs onto the faucet to hold herself, and -- of course -- it pulls out of the fixture, and she falls.
Mom has hurt her leg twice doing this.  There was a large bump and bruise on the front of her lower leg both times.  The last one is still healing.

Today, instead of pulling that bar stool over to the sink, she pulled one of the kitchen table chairs over to the sink.  HOW ON EARTH she even did that is a wonder as she uses a walker or cane at all times, and she drops things all the time.

When I went downstairs to fix dinner, I noticed right away that the faucet was hanging down like that, and the blind was crooked and only 3/4 of the way down, and the vases were moved in the wrong place.  I didn't say anything right then because I had just left her room, and she was fine.  I dreaded the confrontation.

Later, when we were eating dinner, Mom told me she had moved the chair over to the sink and fixed the blinds.  I said, "OH, MOM!  You didn't climb up on that chair, did you?"  She said she did.

So, of course, I had to have a long talk with her about it.

At first, she was combative, and she had the saddest look on her face.  Just like a child in trouble!

Later, after our long talk, she finally agreed that I was right.  She said, "Something told me not to do it, but I did it anyway."   She told me over and over that she was very sorry.

The thing is.  SHE FORGETS!  What about tomorrow -- and the next day -- and the next day.  I don't want to put gates up between the rooms and lock her out of them.

I don't want to lock her in her room.

I pray God assigns extra angels to my Mom to protect her from her broken brain.

Other than that, all is well.  Jerry has been gone all week, but will be back tomorrow afternoon.  He hardly ever goes upstairs, so he usually notices when Mom goes on one of her "walks" to close blinds and doors.  It really helps to have an extra set of eyes and ears on her.

Trust all is well where you are tonight.  I'll be back soon with our Mother/Daughter blouses.

Hugs, Joy


  1. Joy my mother in law was the same about the windows and put knives in the trims of the doors. We had to take the trims off so the healthcare workers could get in. I would suggest that you close the kitchen blind say at supper time or what ever time you think would be before she gets a chance to go climbing. We also had to pull the breaker on the stove since she would start cooking and then just walk away. For your moms safety you are going to have to learn to get ahead of her on these issues. It is pointless to get into discussions about things as like you say she won't remember the next day. Besides not getting her and you upset for no reason because her actions are out of her control. You may have to hire someone to watch her because you can't be there 24/7 and she needs to be kept safe. Hugs Sheri Horbachewski

  2. I like the above comments about closing the blind yourself. The only other thing would be to remove the blind. I am one of your readers that has a father with dementia and I really appreciate you sharing your stories.

  3. I agree with Sheri...close the blind yourself. Don't get upset with her because she is like a child and she will become more child-like as time goes on...This is the long goodbye and it doesn't get any easier, only more heart-wrenching. Hugs to you both!

  4. Keeping your Mom safe is number one concern. It is the same as caring for a small child. There is no logic left for her. Dementia is a dreadful disease. It sounds like you are at the point of needing a caregiver with her during waking hours. If her disease makes her wander during the night you will need to secure all doors and doorways to limit her area these are difficult actions and the transfer of the parent/child relationship is hard.

  5. Joy, I think everyone is right, assuming she is trying to close the blinds in the evening. Closing the blinds is "built in" to her "automated memory". She does things because she has always done them. Talking with her won't work because it is programmed in her to do that. So, as the others suggested, be pro-active and close the blinds before she can get to them. Be thankful it isn't driving that' she feels she must do, like my mother. The only other thing I can think of would be to put in the kind of shades that work with a remote control or simple curtains that would be closed all the time. Hugs, Phylly

  6. Joy, Sheri is right. You will need to get ahead of your mom and begin to anticipate her actions and protect her from herself. I think the worst thing about when my dad had dementia was how I had to lie to him all the time. I'd tell him his truck was broken and his his keys, I'd tell him we were going to dinner when we were really going to the doctor, etc. While I hated it, it prevented an argument which he wouldn't recall and it would only upset me. You may have to leave the blind over the sink down permanently now for as long as she is with you. Breaking a hip will only accelerate her decline. When the very elderly are immobile, that's when the pneumonia sets in and that's usually the final thing. So it's best she stays mobile but safe. It's good you're asking for guidance because you're is a monkey task. I agree it may be time for a 24/7 caregiver. Dad would wander through the house at night touching everything and in the morning I'd find open cans of Wolf Brand chili he'd eat straight out of the can cold. I used to tease him that the chili gremlins visited again and he'd just grin at me after denying he ate it. You and Jerry are angels to care for her. God bless you. ~Becky Thompson

  7. Bless you. Your showing Gods love to her regardless of whether she knows it or not. I'm sure I have caused my Heavenly Father a few eye rolls myself!! But he is a forgiving and loving father. Your also forgiving and loving. Chin up!

  8. Some way to extend thw cord so that she can reach it and not have to climb? Tie a long sturdy twine to it?

  9. Hi Joy, I agree with everyone above. It does no good to lecture them, they won't remember and it makes them feel bad. The main thing is to do your best to keep them safe from themselves, enjoy the lucid moments when they are available, laugh at the funny things, meet them where they are, and have help when you can. I did write about one incident with Dad and I will share a link here, or you can delete if you like, but is about one day when a caretaker had sat with Dad while I took mom to a chemo treatment. And I agree, dementia and cancer are both awful. My siblings had to do more of the caregiving than I did, but we all know how hard it is. Thinking about you, wishing you the best. Lorinda

  10. She won't remember what you tell her; she will continue to do what she is doing; odds are things will continually get worse I'm sorry to say. This is why so many caregivers have to give in to a professional facility. When the person (who doesn't really know what he/she is doing) unlocks the house door gets outside and is picked up on wandering country road by a deputy sheriff at 2 a.m. Yes, it happened. In this instance she couldn't tell them where she lived. Yes, life with dementia is so draining and so scary. Please remember to take care of yourself.

  11. My comment is quite simple as the others have given good advice. My prayers are with you and your mother.

  12. Taking the emotional aspect out of the picture, some options could be working in shifts, you and your husband caring for your mom during daytime hours and having someone come into the home to manage mom during evening hours. This person could could be a trusted friend, relative...and payment could be cash, maybe sewing lessons. Another option could be to put a bell on your mom's bedroom door so when she opens or closes the door you can hear the bells. I was given some straps of jingle bells, the kind the horses wear at Christmas. When my grandkids would come to visit, I repurposed those straps and hung them on doors that were out of eye view of the main living area. When the kids explored the home and tested the doors, the bells would chime and I could get to them in seconds. Worked like a charm.

  13. Sorry I'm chiming in so late on this. Some people have developed daily rituals that seem to give them some sense of comfort and security. Your mom may well find this same sense of comfort and security in the daily ritual of opening and closing her shades. Is is possible that you could put up shades that would be safe for her to operate in her bedroom (over the blinds maybe) just so that she could satisfy this need to keep up her regular daily ritual? I really think that she might be more likely to leave the kitchen window alone if she could find some other way to satisfy her need for her daily ritual.

    Also, I just finished watching your last video about your presents for your mom for Mother's Day, and I have to say I just *love* the first fabric your mom picked out for a blouse. She's going to look amazing in her new blouse. You are so sweet to strive to give such thoughtful gifts to your mom. And whether she remembers consciously or not, subconsciously she will know that her lovely sheets were a gift from you and they will bring her comfort each night. I pray that God showers rich blessing on you and your entire family and that He gives you a full measure of His joy and His peace.

  14. I am so glad to be on your blog finally. You cheer me up. I watch your videos, even the old ones..haha...bless you Joy .love Joy ( Joyann )


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Hugs, Joy