Mother’s Day, Every Day
Pat Hightower had never known her mother, Lois, as an artist—until dementia introduced her to a whole new side of the woman who raised her.
“Mom loves to paint now…especially sailboats,” says Pat, 52, a working mother, foster parent and caregiver to her 74-year-old mother who is a client at St. Ann Center’s Bucyrus Campus. “She always loved driving to the lakefront. She’d relax by watching boats on the water.”
Those escapes to the lake stopped when Lois was diagnosed with dementia in 2011 and moved in with Pat and her grandchildren. “At first, we thought she was just becoming forgetful,” Pat says about the subtle changes in her mother. “Then, I had to start child-proofing the house to keep her from getting into things.” What disturbed her, Pat says, “My sociable mother, who was always active, was bored.”
Last October, Lois and Pat toured the Bucyrus Campus’ adult day care. They liked what they saw. “I can tell Mom looks forward to going to St. Ann Center,” Pat says.
“She’s up early, and ready for her transportation. I go to work knowing she’s safe and busy.” – Pat Hightower
What keeps Lois busy is suitable for framing. “She expresses herself beautifully through art,” says Bucyrus Campus Activity Director Wanda Gray. “What’s going on in her head flows right out of her paintbrush.” Lois and other adult clients are part of the Alzheimer’s Association Memories in the Making art program, offered at the Bucyrus Campus.
Pat appreciates how St. Ann Center helps her mom socialize, and the healthy work-life balance it provides her as a caregiver. “Most of all, I’m glad I can still be very involved in my mother’s care,” Pat says about her commitment to supporting Lois as her dementia progresses. “This is my mother, and caring for her is my most important job. That will never change.”
Read all the inspiring stories from our joyful intergenerational community in the April-June Issue of our Seasons of Life newsletter.