Ever since Mom's diagnosis with
Alzheimer's, I have been diligently visiting my parents every night after work. I think I spend more time at their house than at my own family's! The gut-wrenching feeling of
guilt I get when I think of my parents, sitting together in their own
confusion, arguing about made-up problems, breaks my heart. I just wish I could be in two places at once.
Their 50th wedding anniversary was coming up and Dad has asked that we do not have a party because "your mother doesn't remember anyway!" and his
Parkinson's has been on a rapid decline. I can tell that he fears falling, despite his resilience to do everything on his own. Yesterday when I got home, he was trying to carve a pumpkin! His lack of perception of how weak he is truly scares me.
That's when a friend of mine recommended Home Instead. She said we could find a
CAREGiver to help us plan our party and even be there for when it happens. This certainly appealed to me because I am a full-time working single mom and I need all the help I can get. We contacted our local Home Instead office, and our CAREGiver Janet started services with us just a few days later, and she is still with us today.
Despite my father's wishes, we still planned a celebration for them. Every couple, no matter their age, needs some romance in their lives.
My daughter and I decided to create a playlist of their favourite songs from the ‘50s and ‘60s, and our CAREGiver Janet helped us decorate their dining room with flowers and candles. We even tried to create a menu to look like one of my parents' favourite restaurants from their home town, Coburg. We also put together a
scrapbook with photos from their teen/young adult memories together hoping it would instigate some conversation. Janet was their ‘waitress', and took their orders with a big smile on her face. My daughter and I sat in the other room and just listened in awe with how happy my parents sounded.
It was magical. My parents were singing together, and talking about old memories. My father's memory is still quite intact, but to hear my mother talk about her childhood and her younger days with Dad was heartwarming. It is so important to find the positives in any disease. It's the little things in life that count. My daughter, CAREGiver Janet and I made my parents happy, even if only for a night, and that will make me smile for the rest of my life. Thank you
Home Instead for helping me make this happen for my parents' 50th anniversary!