Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Parents visiting

My parents are coming to visit and staying til the end of the month. In the past they were very easy houseguests, going along with whatever I needed to do, coming to kids' activities with me, and shopping for things they can't easily get at home. The best part was if I didn't feel like doing anything they were perfectly content to stay at home and read or just be. No special plans necessary. My Mom usually helps with cooking and laundry just to be helpful, which is wonderful. She's always been careful not to overstep any bounds (something I know other peoples Mom's do)

For the first time, I'm a bit anxious about their visit. I haven't seem them in the past 10 months and in that time my father's mental health has slowly begun to deteriorate. He hasn't officially been diagnosed with Alzheimer's or anything, but according to my Mom he misplaces things a lot, forgets words and gets very frustrated about it. I had already noticed this when they were last visiting but apparently it has gotten worse. His frustration gets my Mom frustrated as well. Sometimes when I talk to them on the phone, they start bickering at each other, which they never really used to do.

Despite her MS she has started driving again, figuring it's better for her to do it than him. When I talked with her on the phone the other day I basically had to force her to tell me these things, and she would only talk about it after my Dad had left the house to take the dog for a walk. She said we would definitely notice a difference in him. I went back and forth with what if anything to tell the kids. My husband recommended not to figuring that then they would be looking for it. He's probably right, and then if they notice anything, they are usually trained well enough not to bring it up in front of them. I guess so far the things he's forgetting are small things. It's not as though he won't remember who the kids are or anything.

I think they both need a break from their daily routine at home where it is really just the two of them all day almost every day. They've travelled extensively their entire lives but can't really travel except to visit my sister and I anymore. My Mom is frustrated by this as there is still more of the world she wants to see but feels she can't.

I think my Dad's frustration probably comes largely from knowing that he's having trouble remembering and can't do anything to stop it. Also knowing that the more forgetful he becomes, the more dependent on others he will become. My parents are both very independent people which is something I've always admired about them, but now one of their greatest traits is what's hurting them the most.

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