How a senior meals-on-wheels program persuaded a mom suffering from Alzheimer’s to eat
Posted in , Dec 2, 2016
Here is Edward Grinnan’s Editor’s Note for the December 2016 issue of Guideposts. If you’d like to subscribe, click here.
My mom could be quite a handful, which I have come to see as a blessing as the years have gone by but did not always appreciate when she was alive, especially after her Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
The news came as no surprise to us kids, of course. We’d seen our tough, sharp-witted
mom change. But Mom was not about to take Alzheimer’s lying down. “There’s nothing wrong with me!” she insisted, even after she sideswiped a cop, denied doing it and then blamed it all on him.
Eventually my brother and his wife moved Mom to a sweet little house on the property next to theirs so they could keep an eye on her. They built a lighted path between the two houses so Mom could visit when she wanted, which occasionally happened at 5:00 a.m. when she thought it was 5:00 p.m. At Christmas, my sister-in-law, Toni, would hang Christmas lights along the way. Mom loved Christmas because the family all got together.
One thing we couldn’t do was make her eat properly, especially after she nearly burned the house down making tuna salad (don’t ask). So we arranged for a senior meals-on-wheels program to deliver her meals. At first she wouldn’t let them in the house. “This is ridiculous,” she said. “I know how to eat!” Then she offered to help them deliver meals to “people who really need them.”
Eventually she relented—except that she would simply hoard all the meals in the fridge, untouched, in case she happened to have hungry visitors. When we told the volunteers this, they were wonderfully wise and pretty soon they got Mom to eat. She even admitted that the food was “pretty good, considering.” We’re convinced the good nutrition helped keep her in her home a little longer before she had to enter a care facility.
So how proud am I that our friends at Volunteers of America, which operates meals-on-wheels programs for the elderly and the homebound all over the country, are sponsoring a series of articles in Guideposts on “America’s Angels”? Very proud. It was angels, after all, who were able to get my mother to eat. To learn more about the great work that VOA does, follow this the link.