Baby Boomer Real Story Series
Taking Care of Our Aging Parents
By Jeannie Lange
Taking Care of Mom –
I Worked Three Months on that Dress
NEW Weekly Baby Boomer Real Story Series follows the continuing
experiences of Baby Boomer Jeannie Lange taking care of her aging elderly Mom -
- both the serious and humorous.
Mom’s dementia has slowly taken away all the activities that she built her life around.
At the age of 94, her activities include snoozing in a chair now and then, taking walks with me, and watching. She watches me doing a lot of the things that I grew up watching her do, learning from her.
Sewing was Mom’s passion her entire life. For a brief period before becoming a homemaker, she worked at a shirt factory, making custom shirts.
She left that job to take on the all important role of Mom but brought with her the skills that she would use to make all of our clothes and the quilts for our beds. I spent many hours watching her sew at the old Singer that she bought brand new when she was young and many more sitting beneath the quilt frame, watching her fingers guiding the needle through the cloth.
As my sister and I grew, she taught us to sew also and although I have floated away from it at times, I still come back to it and enjoy seeing a finished product that I know I made myself.
Now, Mom sits close by and watches me.
She watched as I made my dress and her outfit for our youngest daughter’s wedding, and the sashes for the bridesmaids’ dresses. For awhile, I was spending a lot of time at the sewing machine and at times, she would look at me and say, “Are you about finished with those?” I think she was ready for a different view!
For the last couple weeks before the wedding, I put my dressmaker form in the middle of the living room and put my daughter’s dress on it so that it could hang out prior to the wedding. We also put a child fence around it so that the grandchildren couldn’t get near it and possibly step on it or spill something.
Talk about rocking someone’s world! A person with dementia doesn’t handle change well and Mom was no exception!
Mom wanted to be able to roam the living room but now the dress was in the way. She would say, “Can we put that over in the corner?” as if it were a Christmas tree. I just assured her that it would be out of there soon.
As much as it may have bothered her, when the day finally came and the photographer was taking pictures as we dressed our daughter, Mom sat there and proudly told everyone, “I made that. I worked three months on that dress.”
I know Mom didn’t make the dress but what is more important to me is that I know that she could. She may be limited to watching me these days, but she couldn’t watch me if she hadn’t taught me.
Next week I’ll tell you about “Taking Mom on Vacation”.
Oh boy, that should be fun!
Jeannie Lange, born in southwestern Ohio, has made her home in Kentucky with her husband, Steve. Their four grown children and their families live nearby. She retired from the insurance industry at the age of 55 to take care of her 94 year old mother 24x7.
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