Monday, October 11, 2010

Privacy issues...long...

The one advantage to being so tired you can't seem to think straight is that you don't know what things should bother you and what shouldn't so you kind of let them all pass. At least that is what it seemed like to me this past weekend. Or I suppose you could let everything bother you... but that doesn't seem to be very helpful. 

I'm not sure how one can distance themselves from Alzheimer's when it is invading your home.  I need to distance myself from the AD, but I can't distance myself from my Mom and sometimes I can't separate the two.

Mother daughter relationships can be complicated. Our has always been (within my memory), which is a shame. Unfortunately with the AD, old issues sometimes come up and it is Soho hard to distance myself from those old issues and deal with the AD of now.

My mom loved (and loves) me very much. But she was very protective. There were a lot of things she didn't want me to do because I could get hurt. I remember she didn't want me to go to the sled hill with the others kids. I had a sled- but no sled hill for me! But then when she was at work, Dad would take me to the sled hill. And then when I survived- we told Mom. She thought the out-of-doors was a dangerous and scary place! Wasps, and bees and all sorts of wildlife were out there ready to kill me, or sting me and what if I went into anaphylactic shock!?! Dad stepped in a lot when it was time for me to try new things.

Mom wanted to know who every phone call was from and  what we talked about.

She wanted to read every letter I received, wanted to know what people meant when they wrote things in my year book. She worried about the kids I hung out with and the boys I liked. I think that's normal- but many times it just went to the extreme. And the kids she thought were nice and welcomed into our home...well, lets just say some had her fooled.

So, I rebelled. Dad, bless his heart knew I needed privacy and in my shelving unit in my bedroom, created a space with a door that locked. And I had the only keys. I'm sure the conversation between my Mom and Dad was quite colorful when she saw what had occurred!

Now, I still feel that feeling of rebellion when Mom questions me about what I am doing, where I am going, who called, what they said. When she sees me barefoot going outside to get the newspaper she warns me of the dangers and it makes me want to scream- "I'm an adult!" Of course, doing that would not be very adult-like so I try to just smile. She wants to look at my mail and doesn't understand when I tell her no.

So here I am having trouble at the age of 55, trying to differentiate between my past rebellion and my current need for privacy within my own home. And there are times I feel so two-faced... when I go through her things and look for medication she's hidden instead of taken, when I sort her mail before giving it to her...when I invade her privacy. When I say to myself, "I am trying to protect her." When I realize that someday, when I am older, my own privacy may be in jeapordy...

I won't even go into the realizations that have occurred concerning my relationship to my own daughter...

I try to tell her what I can- but in my work there are times when confidentiality is important. And I can't trust her to remember NOT to say something. And there are times I just don't want to tell her every little thing that I am doing.

Mom follows us around- and I'm sure that's the AD. And she stands and just watches. And I know sometimes she is probably just lonely or feeling lost.

So- any thoughts out there about privacy and AD? About getting over past issues that have come home to roost? About guilt and boundaries and privacy? i obviously don't have the answers!


Suzy Burwell said...

Something that was very helpful to me was understanding that my mom just wanted to be a part of the rhythm of the household--receiving mail and phone calls are part of that. I would print out e-mail messages to her from my sister and she would read them over and over. Her grandchildren would send notes and she read those over and over and enjoyed them so much. Of course, I had to deal with her reading them out loud to me as if it was all new information but it was a respite from the questions.

Anonymous said...

My DH and I decided from the outset that we needed a "private space" and we created that when we remodeled. Our bedroom is at the end of it's own private little hallway - so no one has any reason to go down there but us! :)

Also, we put our door right next to the back door. This means that [a] our teen-age daughter can't sneak in and out the back door! and [b] neither can Mom! The "bonus" has been [c] which is that we wind up using the patio outside the back door as an "extension" of our private space when the weather is nice.

My Mom would often just stand and stare at me, or would shadow me around the house. I found her things to do - the Dover coloring books, the puzzle books (she checks every "answer" in back before writing it in!) and in time, she turned to those things instead of following me around.

Early on, this worked for my Mom, and Your Mom still has enough executive function that she might enjoy doing "volunteer work" (makes it seem more important) like sorting buttons by size or color for a new kindergarden teacher who needs help (you can buy a big bag of mixed buttons at Hobby Lobby or some Wal-Marts that still have a big sewing/craft department) or cutting out simple shapes from construction paper (again for the mythical "new teacher" who is overwhelmed and needs help) or even sorting flash cards, crayons or simple foam craft shapes for the "new teacher". Praise her efforts, and tell her how much it means to the "new teacher" to have such a dedicated volunteer!

(((hugs))) You are doing great!