Monday, 12 November 2012

Silver Linings.....

 

 
Now I'm not your natural 'silver lining' sort of person. I have to try really hard to see them, you could say I'm a 'Silver Lining sort of Person'-in training!
I'm listening, I'm looking and I'm learning, I'm spotting them quicker than I used to, but there's still room for improvement!
 
Most of you who read this blog, will know my Mum has Alzheimers, so what could possibly be the silver lining in that? Now this one has been VERY HARD to find, however when I visited her yesterday, I realise how much I loved visiting not only my Mum, but all the other residences there too. Don't get me wrong if I could give her back her health, I would, in a heartbeat! No question.
 
She's in a great home, the carers are wonderful. I feel I have 'adopted' lots of elderly relatives! There's Mr B who loves my Mum and is often found sat next to her (he loves a lot of the ladies), there's Mrs S who tells me (lots of times) about her daughter, who lives in Wales. There Mrs C who can get frightened, but who likes me to hold her hand, tell her not to worry, her home is ok, I went to check it this morning. I've checked, it's perfectly ok to go along with their stories.
 
I've been someone's daughter, wife (!), friend, neighbour....you name it I've taken on that role. The carers don't always have the time to sit, to chat, to hold hands....to have the most bizarre, surreal conversations, but I do.
 
 
 
My Mum brought me this cup a few years ago now, when we went Christmas shopping, she brought one for me, one for her, I have them both now.
 
 
She painted this for Little Bea at her pottery class. She loved that class, it was a life saver for her, when my Dad died. She painted lots, we were all a bit worried, if I'm honest, about what we would get next! I wish she was still painting me 'unusual ornaments'!
 
Yesterday was a day to remember those who have lost their lives in wars and conflict. Lots of you also reflected on loved ones you've lost. At the moment I live in the present with my Mum, sometimes thinking about the past is too painful, after all she's still living and breathing right in front of me, she just can't remember the things I can.
 
The Government have just launched Dementia Friends. I've signed up, not sure what I can do, until then I'll just keep visiting Mum, and all the other lovely Residences, with a smile on my face, piece of chocolate in my pocket, and a hand to hold, if needed!
 
 
Thank you all for your advise over my dilemma! Mr Bea just smiled, one of those 'I know you so well smiles', when I told him! He's actually a very generous person, (partly down to his lack of budget awareness/understanding!). I'm going to write down three small things I would like and he'll surprise me with something!
 
Well, dear friends, I did upset someone greatly with my magazine antic, personally I can think of worse things to do, I've seen people almost read a magazine from cover to cover then pop it back on the shelf! Anyhow, I've removed the comment, not because I don't think they have the right to think what they want (I'm not a judgemental sort of person!) but because they hid behind 'anonymous'!
 
 
Have a great week Everyone!
 
 
 
 
Ada :) x
 
 
 
 

82 comments:

  1. What a sweet post Ada. I love it and how generous you are spending time with the elderly. That's so what they need and its what we need too don't you think? We need to be reminded to find time for our elderly and share some moments with them ....they have taught us so much and continue to do so....they teach us consideration,patience and how to listen.
    Your mother.....dear...not much good me saying I'm sorry its so it doesn't help you or your mother but I sincerely wish it could and I wish they could find a cure for Alzheimer and cancer too.
    You are so on the right path though and I love the way you constantly endevour to find those hidden silver linings. I hang my head now and feel I should take you as an example and do the same.

    keep well and keep searching


    Amanda :-)

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    1. They are so interesting, sometimes they can remember lots about their past, sometimes not. Just giving them some time is all they need! :) x

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  2. You are such a sweet daughter and person Ada. Even if it's hard to do what you do, you find the courage and the love to go on!
    xxx Alessandra

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    1. Thanks Ale, I think it would be harder if I didn't have my sisters! :) x

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  3. I felt very touched by your post, I don't have a mum so just try to be a good mum to my own kids. Alzheimer's and dementia are such cruel diseases. I also try very hard to find the good, I like to think things happen for a reason, whether they do or not! I hope when I need one, they'll be someone like you to come and hold my hand. xx

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    1. I'm sorry you no long have your mum Cheryl, if we all just gave a bit of time to the elderly, all those who are vulnerable, we would ha a much better world! :) x

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  4. silver linings are always there, its just rather diffuicult to see them sometimes. My dear mum died tragically, and I really couldn't find one then, but recently as so many of my friends have been running ragged trying to find nursing homes and care homes for elderly and demented parents, I see that I've been spared that anguish...

    I think the magazine story was a hoot!
    x

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    1. You obviously have low morals, like myself! :) x

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  5. I don't think you can say you're not a silver lining person after that lovely positive post. So sweet of you to be there for all those dear men and women in your Mum's home. I can't begin to imagine how hard it must be for you seeing your Mum in that way. I hate to admit that I think it is one of the illnesses I would most dread my Mum or Dad having. I hope I would be as strong as you seem to be. I loved the magazine story by the way. I think if we're truthful we've all done something similar. I know these days I often stand and have a very good look through the magazines as my budget doesn't really stretch to buying them right now. My Dad does the same with boat mags but he is convinced WH Smiths employ a smelly person to come and stand by you if you look at the mags too long without buying.:-) Fiona x

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    1. Your Dad sounds like great fun! Don't worry about the future, just live for now! :) x

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  6. How kind of you to take the time to connect with your Mum's friends in the care home. And not an easy thing to do.
    It's so difficult to see a person who was once so strong and vibrant slipping behind a veil of illness.

    Your magazine confession made me smile. I rarely buy magazines, but sometimes feel I ought to to keep up with what's what for my work.

    Celia xx

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    1. Actually, because I can't have a conversation anymore with Mum, talking to the other residents, whilst holding her hand, helps pass the time! So not too saintly then! I think she quiet likes our banter and conversations! :) x

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  7. Oh Ada, I find your posts about your Mum so moving. I'm glad your Mum's in a nice place with friendly faces, and they're all lucky to have regular visits from you. There is a great service just started recently in Bristol where residents with dementia can have visits from people trained in 'awakening' their long term memories, with songs and stories from their younger years - it sounds like a lovely, positive thing for people who are often a bit 'shut away' in their own worlds.

    I'm sorry to hear someone felt they should give you a telling off about the magazine!! People can be very judgmental, I'm sure you didn't return it damaged or unreadable in any way! Magazines can be so expensive nowadays and it's so disappointing if they turn out to be not what you were hoping for. I hope you get lots of lovely surprises for Christmas! Rachel xx

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    1. Wow Rachel, what a great project, I'd love to do something like that! Unfortunately Mum has lost all her memories, so I can't even talk to her about past stuff :) x

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  8. Ada I am lucky at the moment we manage to keep mum in her own home enjoying seeing her neighbours and having as 'normal' a life as possible. But in time I'm sure I'll be doing the Nursing Home visits and I hope I remain as cheery and generous with my time as you obviously do. Lx

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    1. You will! Go in wearing that lovely hat, everyone will be laughing then!!! :) x

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  9. Ada, you brought a tear to my eye. It sounds like your Mum is being well cared for and it's also so lovely that you have benefited from the "family" at the care home. A silver lining indeed. BTW, I also bought the Granny Chic book which I have loved flicking through. I have a couple of projects in mind for my kitchen - once we eventually get it finished! xx

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    1. I did visit one of the new 5 star hotel homes, but it was soulless, this one, although it was scruffy around the edges was so warm and caring, I can go at anytime of the day, it's always the same! Recently they've had a big refurb, not an easy task with all those residents! Now it's caring and looks good to! :) x

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  10. Ada, what a kind, generous person you are. It is hard when this disease grabs our loved ones but you seem to be making peace with it and your lovely kindness to the other patients is so warm. You've just increased your family.

    As for your anonymous comment, ah well. You did the right thing removing it. If someone has to hide behind anonymous to say what they have to say, then it's not worth reading.

    Hugs,
    Sharon

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    1. Yes, Sharon, I definitely feel like I've increased my family! I wish I'd have known them in their prime! :) x

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  11. Ada,
    Sounds like you have found an amazing home to care for your Mum & although I'm sure your visits must often be sad it must also be really interesting to talk to the other residents. I find elderly people so fascinating to talk too.....make history & events such as WW2 come to life. I can talk to my Nan who was in the land Army for hours.
    I'm sure they appreciate your kindness!
    I love the girl on the half moon that your Mum painted, it's nice to have special things like this isn't it?!
    Sending you a big comforting sliver lined hug
    Natalie
    x

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    1. It could be very sad but the trick is not to dwell on what was but to laugh about right now, actually I can make a single joke last for a whole visit, people keep forgetting it, so I can keep saying it!!! :) x

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  12. Ada, I think you bring out a lot of good thoughts and feelings in people. You make me think (almost too much!) about my own situation. You're right, sometimes going down memory lane is a painful experience, and one I try to steer clear of when things get rough. My mother recently passed away from a short, abrupt illness with cancer. It took us all by surprise (even her), and I miss her every day. My father has Alzheimers and we only discovered it when Mom was no longer there to shelter his faltering from us. He too has been moved into a retirement home and is a very frustrated man who doesn't recognize me, but knows "Wendy" is his daughter. He's 89 and has lived a wonderful life, but it absolutely crushes me to see him ending his life in this slow, cruel deterioration. I understand fully how you are feeling at times, and wish I could send a big hug to you when you feel your worst. I get it. But don't doubt for a minute that you are not a silver lining person. To get this far without cracking, you've proven yourself capable of dealing with a tremdous load, and you still present this sunny side on your blog. You only weather a storm like this by seeing the good side of things. Whether you think this blog is just words sent through the computer, or whether you accept that you are truly reaching others with your words...what you write here matters. I hope you realize the strength you show whenever you reveal your distress. Keep faith, and continue brightening the lives of your mother's fellow residents. You're making a silver lining for others in what you do. Thank you :) Wendy

    PS Returning the magazine was nothing...no different than returning a book, which I've done many times.

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    1. People in the early, middle stages of dementia are often frustrated, they are very frightened and confused. Mum was like that, it was very difficult to see our loving caring Mum change into someone who said the most awful things. Luckily she's back to her mild, pleasent self.
      I'm so sorry about your mum, I bet she hid a lot about the changes that were happening to your Dad, take care, :) x

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  13. Alzheimers. Such a filthy cruel thing - I am so sorry your precious Mum is stricken by this. I can't imagine how hard it must be to see her like that. But you do seem upbeat and positive and I suppose that's the best way to be....good on yer!! :)

    And magazine schmagazine!

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    1. Upbeat and positive, a very good strategy Wendz! :) x

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  14. a lovely post Ada, it's sweet that you are able to enter into all of their worlds in an understanding way! I'm sorry if you got a horrible comment. Very undeserved. That's a good point about returning books isn't it. Have a good week, Heather x

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    1. Heather, I'm just glad she's still there to hold my hand :) x

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  15. Finding some music your mum used to love will fill her with energy and put a sparkle back in her eye. I know that music really helps people with alzheimers go back to a happy time of their life. I shall check out the friends of dementia link x

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    1. She loves her music, especially Frank Sinatra! How can she remember the words, and sing along, but not remember my Dad, or me? I don't understand, I'm sure there's an explanation, but it's hard to understand! :) x

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  16. Oh Ada,
    How lovely and patient you are with your Mum and her friends!

    I am glad you deleted a horrid comment, especially if they did not have the courage to put their name to it!!

    Life is too short to be negative!
    Bestest wishes
    Daisy J

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  17. You are absolutely right, life is too short to be negative! :) x

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  18. your open & honest posting makes me take a look at myself {& also made me call my mum up for a chat} life throws so many challenges at us, it's heartening to know we all muddle along finding our way through at times, best wishes, kellyxxx

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    1. I used to phone my Mum up everyday for a chat, that's something I really miss! Mr Bea wanted to delete her number of my phone yesterday, he couldn't understand why I was protesting! :) x

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  19. Sweet post, good post. It's touching to read how you care about your mother, and the other elderly. Being a caretaker as profession, I did work with alzheimer patients; it was always so hard to not have the time to sit with people, just listen. We were always running to get the practical things done. It is so important that there are people who give their time. I'm blessed with healthy parents (both 80 now) and my mother works as a volunteeer in a retirement home.
    Thanks for your reaction at my blog, everything is okay now.
    groetjes, Gerda

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    1. The carers work so, so hard, and all at the minimum wage! Your Morher is doing well, I hope I'm able to volunteer at 80! :) x

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  20. Love your coasters, I did crochet a lot like them this summer in Italy, they make a nice present. Groetjes, Gerda

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    1. Not made by me I'm afraid the very talented Lisa from BoBo Bun made them for me, I did meet someone on Saturday who said she will teach me....she hasn't seen my attempts yet, so we will see..... :) x

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    2. Ah well, it isn't difficult, just practice. I didn't crochet for over 40 years, I always knitted. And suddenly, some years ago, the crochet virus did hit me, inspired by the lovely Lucy of Attic24. If you lived nearby...

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  21. Ada this is such a lovely post - made me a bit teary to be honest. Your mum is lucky to have such an attentive daughter. And as for negative comments it is easy to do when you can hide behind a computer just like road rage is'nt it? Have a lovely week Ada! Elaina xo

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    1. She's been a great Mum, we've all been lucky to have her as our Mum, it's our turn to look after her now! I just wish I could have her at home with us, but I'm not strong enough to physically care for her :) x

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  22. Hello Ada
    Glad you are coping, there are always going to be days that drag you down, but if you can remember the little things, like the little smiles and the touch of a hand, then a little sparkle of joy is waiting there.
    Thinking of you
    Thea x

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    1. Very true! There's a lot of laughter in the home, from the residents and staff, we don't always know what we are all laughing at, but it doesn't seem to matter! :) x

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    2. Thea has said what I was going to say. My mum has dementia and one of most wonderful memories is the day she cupped my face in her hands and thanked me for what I do for her. She was never eloquent with words but it was wonderful to have this heartfelt moment.

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    3. How lovely Attila, there are times when Mum looks at me and I just know she still loves me! :) x

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  23. As you say everything has a silver lining. One of the most uplifting experience I had was when my Dad was in hospital in a ward with others with dementia. One of the staff got out some musical instruments and everyone ended up with smiles on their faces as they enjoyed the music whether it was singing, dancing or using a tambourine. It was wonderful.
    Sarah x

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    1. Fantastic hospital, that's all I can say! :) x

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  24. Bah humbug to anonymous! Grr I don't like these anon people who keep leaving remarks on gorgeous peoples blogs. Too right about returning it :o) I think you are an amazing daughter and sounds like your mum is in very caring hands indeed. There is always hope sweet Ada, a silver lining brings hope, something we must never forget I feel or the world would be so much more sadder. keep being your wonderful self xox big hugs, Penelope

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    1. Hope is really important, you know that very well! :) x

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  25. Sweet post and I am so glad you get to spend special time with your mom and those around her! A blessing! xo Heather

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    1. It really is good to spend time with them! Not sure I could do it as a job, but great as a visitor! :) x

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  26. so many comments Ada, we have all been touched by your blog. I used to visit my Mum in a home,she was confused but still knew us until a few days before she passed away and went to be with Dad. Had some wonderful stories to tell, it is 6 years next week since I lost her oh how I miss her

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    1. I don't think we every stop missing them, just learn to get on with life, and remember the good bits! :) x

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  27. Hello Mrs,
    I am walking the walk with you Ada, this morning..
    I was the same, I just used to go into Mums world and stay as long as I could possibly could..
    My Mums home was not so good and a fair journey away for us to visit, I don't drive either.
    I used to stay for all the day and cry all the way home.I don't think you can truly understand what Alzhiemers is like, especially when it is your Mum of all people suffering, unless you have been on the journey...I kept a diary of the last two years of mum's life and often think I could write a book on the subject..Or maybe the diary was just to know i did all that I could in an incredibly difficult and sad time of my life.keep strong dear friend and keep blogging! Sending you my thoughts and wishing you to see the silver lining always.
    love Maria x

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    1. Also wanted to say that I am sorry you had to delete a comment Ada,that was most probably the best thing to do though!Take Care..x

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    2. I think writing a diary is a good thing to do, there are a lot of emotions around, especially at the beginning, for everyone involved! Sometimes it all gets to much, but it's much easier if I just concentrate on now, and not on how things were, I can do that in the future!
      I actually feel sorry for those who are so judgemental, especially when they don't really know the person they are being judgemental about. How sad it must be to live in such a narrow, tight world! :) x

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  28. What a beautiful person you are.

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  29. Hey Ada, I work in an aged care facility, not as a carer, but in the kitchen and am surrounded by residents with dementia. It must be very hard for families to see their loved ones this way.......
    What I do find amazing is the stories and conversations some of these people come out with. How they can't remember something you told them a minute ago, but can clearly recall details of something that took place 30 or more years ago. The brain is an amazing organ......
    I love the cup and saucer set your mum bought, what a lovely memory....Do you ever take the two sets in and have a cuppa with her using them?
    i have some of my mum's lovely mugs and always enjoy using them thinking of times we sat and chatted over a cup of tea and a bikkie.

    I wish you all the best Ada and hope that your 'silver lining' training pays off...

    Claire x

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    1. Thanks Claire, no I've not thought of taking the tea cups in! I did take Mums favourite photo album in last time and chatted to her about the people in the photos, she didn't seem to recognise anyone but she did stare for a long time at a photo of me and my sister when we were little, saying 'lovely', I smiled to myself, then realised we were both holding little monkeys!! So not sure if it was us, or the monkeys who were lovely! :) x

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  30. This is such a touching post, Ada, and you are very sweet! I love the silvery cup and saucer, and the amusing memories of your mother's pottery making days. It's lovely that you keep your sense of humour, treasure your memories and enjoy the time with you mum now...what a lovely daughter she has :)
    Helen x

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    1. I had, still have, a very lovely Mum, she taught me everything I know! Humour, it's what gets you through! :) x

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  31. You're definitely a glass half full kinda girl.

    My fridge freezer packed in yesterday. Luckily my MIL only lives down the road and has a big chest freezer I could fit my frozen stuff in.
    The silver lining was that the freezer has now had a clean for the first time in it's life and when it's working again there will be none of that out of date stuff going back in!

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    1. Exactly, if you are anything like me, you don't like freezer defrosting, a breakdown every now and again, just what's needed! :) x

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  32. Hi Ada, i have just popped over from Ted and Bunny who mentioned your beautiful work on her blog im so glad i did. Im so sorry to hear your mum has dementia i used to work for many years with dementia but had to give up the work due to a bad back and hips. I have just joined our local volunteer team at our huge local hospital i start my training this week and will hopefully be befriending and helping patients on the ward who suffer with dementia real soon. Im looking forward to it. Your mother sounds like a lovely lady and i loved the little lady she painted. I am now going to read some more of your blog but i will so look forward to following you. Take lots of care, dee x

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    1. Thanks for your visit Delia, yes lots of care workers end up with bad backs, it a very physical job! Good on you with your volunteering, that's my biggest fear that Mum will end up in hospital where they won't know her, and she doesn't know them! :) x

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  33. Hi Ada
    Much respect to you for caring for your mum, and it must be such a relief to know she's being well looked after when you're not able to visit.
    Re the magazine incident, I didn't see the comment, but I work on magazines, albeit in a small way these days, and I really can't see why anyone would be offended by what you did. I am always getting feedback on my magazine, positive mainly but negative sometimes, and so long as it's courteous, I welcome any reaction. We return clothes if they don't suit us, so why not a magazine. Anyway, there are far too many magazines jumping on the 'homemade' bandwagon these days, and they not all doing it very well, so good for you for exercising your criticial judgement!

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    1. Yes it's a great relief that shes well cared for and safe, something we weren't able to ensure, as hard as we tried! :)

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  34. What a lovely, caring person you are.

    Have you ever read a book that was so good that you're jealous of the friend you pass it onto, knowing they're about to enjoy the story for the first time? This is the small slither of silver lining I can find in your story, as each time you share a happy memory with your mum, or hear an often-told tale from another resident, they get that enjoyment for the first time, and it's you who gets to give them that enjoyment each and every time you see them - a special gift indeed. Hope the silver linings continue to appear in other areas of you life, too!

    Anna x

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    1. I've just been to see Mum and sat with Mrs V, she had just had a small falling out with another resident and was feeling sad. Mrs V is in the early stages of dementia but has no family to care for her. So it was out with the chocolate and she's just told me all about her life in Africa, again, shes forgot that she told me everything last time I was there too! At least she was smiling! :) x

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  35. It's so hard trying to connect with someone that is there, but not there. Alzheimer's has touched our lives too and it's so hard, but as you say - there is always that silver lining. You just have to look a little harder sometimes then normal.

    Take care

    Nina x

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  36. I've got a very big magnifying glass now Nina, it's coming in very handy! I think Alzheimer's has touch many of us, a sad fact! :) x

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  37. So much love in all the comments above Ada! This blogging community is giving you a virtual hug. Your posts about your mother are very moving and sometimes sad but what really shines out is how much you love her.

    I can't believe someone bothered to write you a mean comments about returning a magazine...seriously? Have people nothing better to do??

    Gillian xx

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    1. Yes, a lot of love there, I know she still loves me, even if she's not sure who I am anymore, there's still some connection there! :) x

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  38. Your post shows what a warm and loving person you are. And that is why the other residents love you too. Alzheimer's is such a difficult disease to come to terms with but you are strong and you sound as if you are handling it well. Remember your mum always for who she was before. That is your real Mum. She's always there inside her and in your heart even on the days you don't see her. Sending you and your Mum lots of love.

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    1. I know she's there deep down, I'm only so strong because as a family, we support each other! :) x

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  39. Ada, blogland truly is a great place of comfort at times :) My Dad has Parkinsons and he is very slow and forgetful bless him, he is very determined to help me with my caravans and it is lovely to spend time with him. I will also be joining Friends to help if I can. I have been looking for something to do with my "empty" lampshade now for ages so thank you very much for that picture! Amazing! I also want the blue curtains in the background.
    Much Love Ada, to you and your Mum and I will be back to you for wallpaper before you sell it all!
    Sharon xxx

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    1. Sorry to hear about your Dad Sharon, yes enjoy your time together, it's good he wants to help you, our roles reverse all too quickly! :) x

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  40. Ada - what a touching post and what a good daughter you are. I took my mum out for the day last Friday. We had a lovely day but I suddenly noticed how much slower and older she has become. She cooked us dinner later and it made me realise just how much I love and appreciate her. M x

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    1. It's hard to see how our parents start to slow down, I can remember having to run to keep up with Mum, now she struggles to walk just a few steps :) x

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