Good morning, Mom!
Did you sleep well?
Did I sleep well? Yes, I slept well.
Any dreams? Yes, I had dreams.
Oh! What did you dream about?
I dreamed about….. I don’t know what I dreamed about.
Mom was so sure she had dreams but gave up trying to recall them. Interesting!
Conversations are rare and limited to 3 or 4 lines at the most nowadays. We run out of things to say to one another. She doesn’t initiate any conversations and has to be prompted.
Mom got a letter, and she read it to herself.
Read it to us! we said. Can you read it?
She laughed, Of course I can! I want to know if you can read it!
We said, But we want you to read it to us. Read it aloud!
And so she did, with a loud clear proud voice she read the whole letter, hesitating over words she could not decipher. Yet she could remember the pronunciation of names that were not English, and said them correctly.
When she finished, I asked her what the letter said. And she told me what she understood, passage by passage, reading again from the letter to remind herself what it was about.
I would give her 50% for reading comprehension.
- She knew what a sentence meant, even when she could not remember the event it referred to
- She knew most of the people in the letter
- She was happy to read the letter, recognising it was written with love
It doesn’t matter the parts she did not seem to understand, which were the parts referring to the passage of time, someone’s accomplishment, or illness, or future plans. She seemed not to recognise the significance. Or she might have understood after all, and I didn’t see it.
Mom hates to move about, she has become very fond of just sitting. She still walks around the home and is mobile, but is becoming increasingly stooped. Getting up from her chair takes long moments of concentration to coordinate the right movements and exertions.
After an attempt to bring a physiotherapist to the home to engage her in exercise, I realised it wouldn’t work. The physiotherapist felt she was still alright, and encouraged us to get her more active throughout the day. Scheduling exercise with a professional might do more harm than good if we didn’t do anything in between sessions.
So here we are, trying to staunch the decline by exercising Mom 5 minutes at a time (*contrite expression*). I’m still figuring the best things to make her do, the most “value-for-money” movements – for example, half-squats seem to be particularly effective, and she is getting out of her chair a little quicker. Stretching upwards several times improves her posture within minutes.
Mom finds it funny and often giggles and laughs, which is good breathing and abdominal exercise, so I encourage it. She has lost the coordination to be able to “blow out a candle”. I shall practise that next.