My loved one with dementia is my sister. We were not the best of friends despite being only two years apart in age. Growing up we fought like many siblings do. Our parents could not understand why we did not get along. They tried to encourage our friendship which only served to ignite more fighting.
My sister and I are very different. We do not have the same interests thus our friends did not overlap. We had very different careers. We had different personal traits and habits and shared a room. I am organized and have a place for everything. My sister, let’s just say a place for everything meant something very different.
As adults we rarely had reason to spend time together other than family events. There were periods that our friendship improved but it was temporary. As years went by I married, divorced and remarried. My sister remained single.
Fast forward to today. I am my sister’s guardian and caretaker (how I got here is a story for another time). Earlier this week I received a call from the assisted living facility expressing a concern about the condition of my sister’s apartment. I took the opportunity while she was in adult day health to go in and see the room. Because of previous events at a condo she once owned, I was not shocked to see the condition of her room. It saddens me that her loss of executive function results in living in a mess.
I started cleaning and while doing so I thought about the room we shared as children. I realize that I miss the person she once was even though we fought and had different ideas of how to organize our possessions.
I hate the fact my sister has dementia. I hate the fact that she will continue to live in a mess if we don’t help her. I hate that she loss the ability to take care of herself.
Then I realized that dementia gave me a new version of my sister, one that is loving and gives me hugs. And as an added bonus, we no longer fight!
HartFelt hugs for you and your loved one with dementia.