I am constantly surprised by what a foul mouth Mom has developed. This sweet-natured woman who taught me to watch my manners and never accepted swear words in her house now swears with abandon.
I know this is the effect of Alzheimer’s. The language control centers of the brain are impacted adversely by dementia so that Mom has trouble choosing her words. Her sentences are strung together haphazardly as she often can’t explain what she really means. Alzheimer’s also affects the filters that once kept Mom’s language in check; words that otherwise would be caught before they were spoken are now uttered freely due to the loss of inhibitions.
So when Mom stood in the bathroom after her shower and started cussing, I knew it was the disease talking.
“When I get home, I’m going to do what I like, when I like and everyone can F-off,” she angrily swore.
“Oh, my,” I interjected, “that’s very rude.”
“I like that word,” Mom continued. “F-ck. F-ck. F-ck. But I don’t say it too often. It’s not nice.”
Aha. At least some of her filters were still functioning.
I haven’t noticed any patterns to Mom’s swearing, though it is clear that she curses more when she is stressed or angry or confused.
The obvious solution is to try to calm and distract her. If I start singing a song while Mom is angry, she often can’t help but join in, except she’ll add rude noises or words to match her feelings. When I start laughing at her cleverness, we both break into giggles and the bad mood passes.
It hasn’t happened in public yet, so I haven’t had to “explain” why this mild-mannered lady is acting like a gutter queen. When her outbursts are directed at me personally, I take a deep breath and remind myself she doesn't mean it.
Eventually, Alzheimer’s will rob Mom of the ability to speak altogether. Thankfully, at this stage, Mom is still full of vim and vigor, and if she starts to swear, I accept it as part of the disease. I try to acknowledge her feelings rather than call her on them.
Once she had finished her bathroom exclamations, Mom bent down and tried to wipe the tan lines off her feet.
That I could handle.
When my son and daughter-in-law went berry picking last week, they brought me a present of fresh raspberries and blackberries. I refrained from eating them so that I could use them in a dessert that Mom taught me how to make many years ago. This is one of the easiest dessert recipes I know.
Berry Pie with Cookie Crust
This pie bursts with the flavor of summer’s plentiful ripe berries. Plus it is easy to make. Some assembly required.
2 cups cookies, crushed (preferably chocolate petite beurre)
6 Tbsp butter or margarine
½ tsp cinnamon
2 cups fresh berries (or equivalent frozen berries)
1 jar raspberry jam
Place cookies in a food processor and pulse until crushed. Remove to a mixing bowl and add softened margarine or butter and cinnamon. Press into pie pan and bake at 375° for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, melt jam in a small saucepan. Add berries and stir on low for another few minutes. Transfer berry mixture to cooled pie pan. Refrigerate for up to two hours. Serve with whipped cream.