Caregiving Knowledge I Wish I Had Known (Part 3 of 7)
September 27, 2017
Continuing from my initial blog posting on September 4.
3. Wish I’d had Mama spies
Nearly all of Mama’s children were at least five hours away from the city she lived in. However, I lived the closest to her, about two and half hours away. I tried to visit my mother at least one weekend a month, and spoke to her on the phone at least once a week, as did my brothers. But we all worked, and I traveled a lot— there was just no way for us to be there with her constantly.
After Mama was first diagnosed with dementia, I was approached by a few family members who admitted that they’d intended to call me because they had noticed that my mother was acting unusually. I was deeply disappointed that no one had made that critical call. Frequently, in the case of brain and memory disorders, there is a window of opportunity in which the struggles and problems can be masked from others. My brothers and I didn’t see her every day, so Mama was able to skillfully mask her condition for a long time. And because of the mask, we couldn’t react accordingly.
Looking back, I would have asked Mama’s close friends and neighbors to keep an eye on her. This would entail them contacting me immediately if there were any signs of trouble or concern. Yes, people talk, and they most certainly did. I just wish I’d had wind of those early whispers.