Yesterday morning shortly after I told Kate it was time to get ready for church, she came to me with an outfit and asked, “Is this all right?” This seems a simple enough question, but viewed in context, it is another sign of her decline. She has been and continues to want to be very independent. She often shows signs of resentment when I make suggestions about what she should wear. She does, periodically, ask my opinion. In this particular instance there was something about the way she asked the question that hit me. It sounded very childlike as though she had no idea of what to wear. I think the fact that she was preparing to dress for church which is such a routine event adds to my sense that she is changing.
As a caregiver, I have to be very sensitive about what to say, when to intervene, when to let her make her own decisions even when I know it may be different from what I believe is appropriate. I am trying very hard to minimize her boredom now. I am spending less time at the office so that I can be with her more. That permits such things as simply coming over to Panera Bread where we are right now. Here is an example.
Today I have a foundation lunch meeting that starts at 11:30. That means I need to get her lunch somewhat earlier than I would do typically when my Rotary club meets at 12:30. For that reason I decided to come home directly from my workout at the Y and take her to Panera where we could both work on our iPads and then get her lunch. Knowing that she often goes outside to work in the yard and that if she did this, we wouldn’t have much time together before I have to leave, I called from the Y to remind her that we were going to Panera. She had forgotten. When I got home, she was waiting in the driveway near the street. When she got in the car, she said, “I didn’t keep you waiting.” This led to a few comments related to her saying that I didn’t give her credit for anything. She then gave me commands as to how to get to Panera’s. She was mimicking the way I do with her. My point in telling the story is that I had simply tried to do something nice for her, but she hadn’t recognized that and, in fact, seemed a little put out with me.
During our time here, she said, “The Olive Tree. That is the name of the restaurant where we ate on Saturday with the Harringtons. She had asked me several times but couldn’t remember the name. Then she said, “Katherine.” That is Mark’s wife. That led to her repeating our address, my cell phone number, as well as the names of several high school friends. She was demonstrating that she still remembers things. This is another sign of her own recognition that she is getting more forgetful and is working hard to compensate (remember). That makes me sad too.