My mother and grandmother have not always had the best relationship. I have often served as referee between them, usually talking Mommy down before she reacted to Grandma’s tongue lashing. When I made the decision to become Grandma’s primary caregiver, I knew that part of my role would be helping my mom become a more patient, understanding daughter so that Grandma would receive the best care possible. I passed along information about dementia, and shared my strategies for helping Grandma become more successful in daily living. My mom readily became a learner, and listened to my advice and suggestions with humility.
But during my mom’s visit this past weekend, I suddenly found myself in the position of the learner. As soon as my mom greeted her, Grandma came to life. Now mind you, I don’t know if she was happy to see her, or bracing herself for an argument! But my mom has a way of bringing out the fight in Grandma—which comes along with her independent spirit. She started doing things for herself that I thought she had forgotten. She chatted cheerfully about people and events that only the two of them knew about. My mom would never accept, “I don’t know” as an answer to a simple question, and pushed Grandma to make decisions. All the while, my mom never criticized the way that I had been doing things, and expressed her appreciation for all of my help.
So that’s why I say that my mama is a Rock Starr—double R well-deserved. I’m so grateful to have a family that appreciates each person’s role in Grandma’s care. We’re certainly not perfect and still very dysfunction in some areas! But we’re in this gig together.
- I’m Sorry, Grandma. Tomorrow Will Be Better. (caregiving.com)
- Thanks for the Memories, Mom (caregiving.com)
- Fighting Fair (caregiving.com)
- How Do You Know When It’s Time? (caregiving.com)
- Co-Caregiving: Recognizing the Pitfalls and Avoiding the Sinkholes (caregiving.com)