Road Trip With Mom
I recently went on a road trip with my husband, son, his girlfriend of one year, and my mom. We drove from Long Island back to Buffalo where we lived for 14 years, and mom had lived full-time since dad died 10 years ago.
As you can imaging, I wanted it to go well. We managed to cram 6 hours into 10. I packed lots of changes of clothes for mom, a whole pack of her pull-ups, disposable washcloths, mattress protectors, pajamas, extra shoes, and slippers. We would only be there for 3 nights, so I overpacked a little.
Passing the time in the car
We stopped for bathroom breaks and photo ops. We had lots of snacks. We sang and "played favorites." It is a game I started when the kids were little, and we had time in the car. What's your favorite chocolate candy? Mine is Reece's Peanut Butter Cups. Sugar candy? Candy Corn. And SweeTarts. My son's girl likes Sour Patch Kids. I will have to keep that in mind.
Mom's answer was pretty much a laugh and, "I don't know" to every question. We know her favorites are the red Ritter Sport with marzipan and Andes Mints, especially the ones from Cracker Barrel.
We all sang along to "Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'" from Oklahoma! It's her favorite song to burst into when the conversation around her gets awkward. We stopped at the Delaware Water Gap and took beautiful photos by the water. We packed mom's wheel chair, so she can sit and we can push her when walking becomes too much.
She also pushed her empty chair which helped steady her, sort of like pushing the cart around the grocery store. That chair was a good garage sale find!
We made it to Buffalo in time for a late dinner at our old Cracker Barrel. Now, mom was feeling nauseous! That never happens.
A quick stop for a bite to eat
We were tired, and I tried to find something she would eat. It is hard for mom to express how she is feeling. I was trying to get to the issue when the waiter came back to see if we were ready.
I was in the middle of deciphering my mother's hints, hems and haws, and a million thoughts and feelings were passing through my head, so I just looked up and said, "No." Short and to the point, and back to checking with my mom.
Do she and I need to go back to the hotel and skip dinner? What about her medications that she needs to take with food? Then, I saw the shocked look on my family's faces. I had come across rude to the waiter! I didn't mean to be!
In my mind, all the explanations swirled, and I had just abandoned those options and said no a little too bluntly. I apologized profusely and left a big tip. I felt terrible. Have you done that before?
We got mom her own room next door to ours. I told her it's just like at our house. Her room is next to ours. They did not have adjoining rooms. She snores, and I knew my husband and I wouldn't sleep if she shared our room. Mom only had to dial our 3-digit room number to reach us, holler, or knock on the wall. Best laid plans...
Locked in, locked out
Mom locked herself in her room. She put the metal security loop over the nob on the back of the door, what they have instead of a chain now. We could hear her rattling and banging the door trying to open it the next morning. I stood outside her door in my pajamas trying to talk her through unbolting the door. My toddler once locked me out of our apartment.
I was beginning to get that familiar sense of rising dread.
Instead of panicking, thankfully, I have skinny little wrists and could squeeze my hand through the crack and point to the things I wanted her to do. The metal thing! I would yell through the door and point. The whole hotel could hear our conversation! She managed to open the door, finally, and she was all dressed and ready to start her day. That might have been the biggest shock!
Expect the unexpected... Even when traveling
I tried to plan for everything. Of course, I could not anticipate all that happened. Oh, well. You do your best and just roll with the rest and don't sweat the stuff you can't help. We all had a great time. I'm so glad mom came with us. She is, too, and we have some great photos at Niagara Falls.
Do you have suggestions for making it easier to travel with a loved on living with Alzheimer's?
Which, if any, of the following most often trigger agitation in your loved one living with Alzheimer's disease?