“My mother has dementia. We are going through it together as she is slowly reverting back to a child’s mentality. I am the one looking after her most of the time. I built my studio at the side of her house so I can be around her while I work. I play music for her, and she asks me ‘where is mommy?’ and ‘where is daddy?’, they are gone about 50 years now, but I don’t explain it to her anymore. I play with her. I tell her they are coming home soon, that mommy is down at the shop and daddy is at work or coming home when it’s time for dinner. I comfort her with my stories. Three days a week, I take her to this place where they monitor her slow mental decline with all sorts of exercises and tests. She likes to go there but when I come to collect her and we sit into the car she gets frightened. She would look out the window and spot someone walking – I don’t really know what she sees – but she thinks they are trying to hurt her and she panics. I can’t remember how it started, I just remember that her mood kept pulling me with her and I was going into this dark place where I felt I will not able to care for her anymore. I had an idea to distract her and I said ‘Oh, don’t worry about them! They are just the Sprunger-Spanglers!’ She looked at me a little confused and asked me: ‘What are they?’ That’s how it started – she thinks that those scary creatures are actually these little friendly Sprunger-Spanglers and she looks for them and points them out on the way home. I built us a fantasy world filled with all sorts of friendly creatures and this little world is becoming our new kind of weird and wonderful place to connect. Caring for a person with dementia can be all-consuming and this way I find I can mind my own mental health while keeping her healthy. Sometimes that means changing the world you know it into a world filled with silly creatures just to be able to keep her a little longer…to comfort her and make sure she feels safe and loved.”
STANO – Recording Artist and Composer
Let’s open up about mental health together.
This post was highlighted by First Fortnight.