Joyful Late-Stage Discoveries

Losing a loved one to Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia is hard on the family.  However, yearning for the person they used to be may prevent you from enjoying who they are right now. Here are five things families at Arthur’s Senior Care assisted living have discovered about their loved ones as they’ve progressed.

  1. My dad wanted to pursue a career in music, but right after high school his dad found him a job with the state, and he never went to college for music.  His decision paved the way for security for all of us, and we appreciate all our interest in music even more.  It was so interesting to learn of a decision that impacted our whole family that we never knew before.
  2. Our mother was a pastor’s wife and was kind to everyone. In her last years she began cussing like a sailor!  We were so mortified!  The staff at Arthur’s helped us to see the humor in the situation, to love her where she was at.  Instead of dreading what she said, we marveled at how God created our minds, how we make choices when we’re able, and the fact that ALL of us know those words even if we choose not to say them.
  3. We learned that our parents used to dance a lot when they were first married and dating. I look a lot like my mom, and in later years when I’d visit, he thought I was her and he’d dance with me. I’ve never been more honored to be his daughter in all my life.  I will cherish those memories forever.
  4. My aunt taught juvenile delinquents her whole career and was a confident lady.  Nothing fazed her. I learned how much fun it was to ask her advice about parenting. She knew how to provide tough love!
  5. My mom wasn’t very nurturing growing up, and as Alzheimer’s set in, it got even more difficult. After moving to Arthur’s, the staff (who didn’t have any baggage with her) modeled how to enjoy her spicy comments, like “why don’t you just kill me now G*@#)!*%)*@!!”  The staff would carefully wipe the grin off their faces, admit they weren’t in a murderous mood, and convince her to get out of her chair and go murder lunch instead. Their light-hearted enjoyment of the moment, their genuine affection for my mom, and kind responses was so helpful in my forgiving mom and enjoying her final years.