All in the Family: Moving Mom Into Our Home

People wonder what it is like having their loved one with dementia live with them and how it will impact the family, especially the kids. My mom has been living with us since 2012. It’s hard to believe it has been so long. It seems like it was just last week for me. She is just part of the household. My husband and kids might have a different sense of time.

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Deciding to blend our households

My parents owned the house we lived in at the time. We sold our home to move in and help them out. Their house was more user friendly for aging parents than ours was and sat empty half the year. That was one of the many decisions we made to blend our households.

My parents had been driving back and forth between Mississippi and Buffalo, New York, living with us for part of the year. Once my dad passed away, I wanted my mom to come live with us permanently. We just sort of talked about how to make that work, not if. Mom was 73 and still doing really well. My kids weren’t thrilled with it only because Gma, as they refer to her, would get into their business! When I was out, she felt like she needed to step up as parent and keep tabs on them. Insert eye rolls.

It was special to have Mom involved in our lives

Mom could drive and grocery shop and take herself to her own appointments. My husband and I could go out or on a trip and were confident that mom could be there to hold down the fort. She got to go to the kids plays, concerts, and sporting events. It was very special to me and to my kids.

My dad was in the army, so we moved a lot. Grandparents were never close enough to come to anything. My kids friends had all kinds of family showing up for their events. Now, my kids had a set of grandparents, and then just my mom.

As her Alzheimer's progresses

Now that my mom is 10 years older and dealing with the mid to late stages of Alzheimer’s disease and associated dementia, she is adored by her grandkids. They don’t want to think of life without her. Her aphasia has gotten pretty bad. She can’t talk very well. She has difficulty word finding. However now, it’s most of her words she can’t find. She has trouble getting any words out and finishing a sentence that makes sense.

My mom could talk your ear off, so it’s a bitter irony that it's her speech that is most affected.

Another irony is that her not being nearly as chatty is what makes her more enjoyable and approachable to her grandkids, especially to her introverted granddaughter! Gma is also still pretty funny. She has some great one-liners! She’s adorable!

Now my kids help in caring for Mom

I think my kids learn responsibility and self sacrifice in caring for their Gma, and they benefit from the example of their parents doing it for family. Those are good qualities. They have another person in the home who loves them and they love! That’s also good!

Now, my kids stay with my mom so my husband and I can go do things. We have come full circle in our family care as they look out for her. I’m proud of the relationship my kids have with my mom. I wouldn’t change a thing.

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