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Husband Leaves Detailed Instructions To Care For Wife With Dementia

April 10th, 2018

In the world of digital media, people are used to comparing their lives to the most glamorous versions of other’s lives. They focus on the big moments – the celebrations, the adventures, the first experiences. But when we look back on our lives, we realize that it is the little moments that have made all the difference.

One woman learned the value of these little moments in a unique way when she helped her mom complete her morning tasks. Becky Gacono is 55-years-old and lives in Annville, Pennsylvania. Her mother and father live together, and her mom has dementia. Usually, it is Becky’s father who helps her mother get ready each morning, but this time the daughter took on the task.

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Becky Gacono Source: Becky Gacono

“My dad had a doctor appointment the other morning so I head over to sit with mom while he’s gone,” Becky explained in a Love What Matters series she is chronicling about her mother’s journey with dementia. “When I get there, mom is in the shower. Dad spends at least 10 minutes going over mom’s morning routine so I can do what he does each morning.”

Of course, as her father began to explain each bit of the routine in detail, Becky was sure that he was too worried. Surely she could handle helping her mother get ready. As the woman listened to more of the routine, she realized just how elaborate it was.

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Becky Gacono Source: Becky Gacono

“He already has her glasses cleaned and waiting for her by the bathroom sink next to her jewelry she wears every day. He reminds me to put her jewelry on after she’s dressed, explaining which one clips and which one fits over her head.”

Okay, so helping out was a little more complicated than Becky had initially thought. But she was committed to getting it right so that she wouldn’t cause her mom any unnecessary stress.

“‘Don’t forget the bracelet with the heart goes on the left with her watch,” her father warned. “The other two bracelets go on the right.’”

The jewelry routine was an elaborate one, but it was only the beginning. She still had a full ensemble to prepare, and the task would prove substantial.

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Becky Gacono Source: Becky Gacono

“Next we move onto her outfit,” Becky wrote. “He shows me her turtleneck, her sweater and her pants. On the floor next to her outfit are her shoes with a pair of soft Mickey Mouse socks folded on top of her shoes.” The woman took a moment to appreciate the fact that her father secured every last detail for his love.

“Her under garments are neatly laid across the back of her waiting wheelchair. He explains each undergarment. I tell him I got this and send him on his way. He keeps looking back to see if he forgot to tell me anything else I will need to know. His love for her is palpable.”

Now that Becky was on her own, it was up to her to prove that she could handle taking care of her mom. “I’m a nervous wreck watching mom in the shower as she pulls herself up with the handles mounted on their shower walls and sits back down on the edge of her shower chair,” the author admitted.

Seeing a family member develop dementia is always difficult. We are accustomed to viewing the characters in our lives – especially our parents – in a certain way. When Becky took the time to walk through her mom’s morning routine, she realized just how much had changed since the years of her youth.

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Becky Gacono Source: Becky Gacono

As the woman worried about her mother slipping in the shower, she made the bed. When her mom finally came out, she told her helper, “Someone raised you right if you make your bed in the morning.” But when Becky thanked her mom for raising her, she received the response of “I don’t know your mom.”

It was at this point that Becky realized how fleeting time was. All the memories she had made with her mom were slipping away into oblivion, but she still had the present moment to enjoy their time together.

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Becky Gacono Source: Becky Gacono

The two drank coffee together and watched TV. Becky spilled her cup, at which point her mom bragged that she hadn’t spilled a drop.

When asked what she liked to do, Becky responded that she loved to travel. Then she returned the question, and her mom replied, “I like to be around people. I don’t like to be alone.” Suddenly the message became clear to Becky: “I realize how much she loves when we visit. I realize it’s not often enough.”

As the rest of the family arrived, the woman left to get to work. She was grateful for the valuable time she got to enjoy with her mother.

“What a wonderful, exhausting morning she shared with me. Thank you Mom!”

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Becky Gacono Source: Becky Gacono

In our society, we are conditioned to think about the big events in life, but it is the little moments that matter the most. Remember to appreciate your time with your loved ones; you never know what the future holds.

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Source: Love What Matters