I would test Mom

and ask how her day went

after she’d had an outing.

Often I got a blank stare

or a vague reply, as

her memory is fading.

Today was different –

“I had a haircut”, she offered,

“By the usual lady.

She’s been cutting my hair

a long time now”,

she happily told me.



Changing Styles

Mom had taken great care of her hair all her life. She would schedule regular visits to the hairdresser, and also spent time and effort maintaining her hairstyle at home. I remember electric rollers, plastic rollers, foam rollers, small, medium and large. She was fashionable too, and I remember a wardrobe filled with tailored clothes of all the colors of the rainbow. She purchased fabric, remembered what fabric she had, planned designs, and visited the tailor.

Sometime in the last decade or so, all this changed. First mom complained the hairdressers were too expensive, so she kept her haircuts to a minimum, and colored her hair at home. She was worried about the crime rate being high where she lived, and in order not to attract unwelcome attention, she wore old and plain clothes, stopped using make-up, and let her hair go.

Some of this behaviour was prudence, I’m sure. Yet I wonder. Is it a sign of impaired judgement brought on by early dementia? If so, the onset of dementia was insidious and crept up on us many many years earlier!

Yet sometimes the old mom is there. I brought her shopping about a year ago.. Let’s look at shoes, I said, you haven’t had a new pair for some time now. It was in Robinsons, and mom headed for a pair of stilettos such as she might have worn 20 years earlier. I laughed out loud and remember now she didn’t think it so funny.

Yesterday, we were passing some time in the sports section of a department store, and I rifled through the sportswear on the rack. Who are you buying for? mom asked, ever keen to give a helping hand.

Nowadays, mom isn’t so particular over what she wears, and over the last few months, I’ve noticed her efforts at matching clothes is improving. I don’t always think she is most appropriately dressed, but it’s okay, I can make allowance for her taste. Most importantly, I too have to remember what she’s been wearing so I can hint when it’s time to send those pieces to laundry!

And we visit the hairdresser whenever we must! Usually a couple of weeks overdue by the looks of things. I have written before how at the hairdresser, ¬†additional services are imposed on mom, who is gullible and suggestible. This is getting to be a problem. At the last place, when I went to pick mom up, I even found her hyper-excited, talking loudly and making strong protests about what the charges are likely to be. A lady there kept pushing her products and suggested “your good daughter will pay for them”. As soon as we left, mom ¬†updated me excitedly about how she spoke to them about Church and Religion. When I got her to a quiet place, I asked her why in the world was she proselytizing to them, and she said “They Wanted me to Teach Them, so I Did!” Luckily she soon calmed down, and I let it be.

I realise there will be those who prey on the older, weaker, gullible persons, and don’t think it is wrong to do so. I must find a new hairdresser for her, someone I can trust. Else I must schedule to sit there and wait it out with her, because mom behaves in my presence.

The Expensive Haircut

Earlier this year, I decided to treat mom to a nice haircut. She had not had a proper haircut for several months, and was self-colouring her white hair not very successfully.

Anyway, we went to a pretty posh salon and I checked the price, then told the staff she was only there for a cut and colour and nothing extra, and left her there while I ran errands. Unfortunately, when it was time to pay, I discovered they had topped up an extra $30 for a “special treatment”. The stylist looked rather nervous when I asked mom if she had agreed to it, but nevermind.

Now the whole bill was $196, and mom tried to pay for it with the $150 she had in her purse. I think this is one indication of the loss of money sense.

On the way home, mom chatted excitedly about the stylist, where he’s from, how many children he has and how she advised him how to live his life.

That evening, my brother visited and we all admired mom’s new hairstyle. It was extremely expensive, she told him. How much was it? we asked. She thought for a while, and said “Forty dollars!”