Mum was a primary school teacher, a very good one I’m told. Even when she retired she never stopped teaching, telling the grandchildren stories, pointing things out to them on walks. She had an active mind, loved reading.
Later mum had Alzheimer’s disease, like her own mother. She would wander up Dunblane High Street several times a day, visit the library so often that they stopped stamping the books, they knew she’d be back later that day with the same books. She would chat to locals, especially if they had children or a dog. She loved both. She was well kent in Suni Duni (Dunblane).
Mum would forget she’d been out and head back out again soon after. As a result she lost weight and we tried to feed her up, a reverse diet, full fat milk, yoghurts and lasagne. We filled her fridge full one time and an hour later she was at our door, two bags full of food – “you’ve forgot your food, left it in my fridge”. After that we filled the fridge daily by stealth, one of us would chat to mum while the other put milk, yoghurt and a meal in the fridge and fruit in the bowl.
The doctors sent someone out to do a test. Simple questions. What year is it ? Mum thought this was daft, what’s the point. Eventually she said 2004 I think.
It was 2012.
The questions went on, who’s the prime minister etc. It was horrible sitting there. I wanted to shout leave her alone ya heartless bastard. They were just doing their job but boy was it upsetting to watch.
And so, after the diagnosis, we learned to cope. After all,mum had looked after us for years, now it was our turn . We would talk about past holidays, where mum was comfortable. If you asked her what she had for dinner last night she would get flustered so we would ask did she enjoy the lasagne last night. Little things. The kids got used to granny repeating herself, they were great with her. Mind you, one year granny gave them a birthday present…twice. They liked Alzheimer’s that year haha. Got to laugh.
Talking of which, the BBC did a piece about The Golden Postbox and who was on tv, walking up the high street? Well, I suppose it was odds on. We had a laugh about that too.
PS Does this story sound familiar? If so, you are not alone. There’s help out there for carers (yes you are a carer). We had a lovely lady who would take mum out once a week (to a coffee shop or something) and it was great knowing you could relax for that day.