Reunited and Learning ASL

My mother has moved back in with my father, back into the same Silverado memory care community (which is lovely), again sharing a room. I hope and pray it goes better this time round than last when they isolated and refused medication and care. They love one another very much, so it is wonderful to see them together.

Missing his old home, my father asked about his old beach house which we sold last year to pay for their care. The staff has told my dad “therapeutic white lies” about the house, such as saying that the plumbing is being repaired.

Instead of using a “therapeutic white lie,” I skirted the issue, telling my dad that since my mom had her stroke, she needs care and that the house was too much work. He asked her if she wanted to live in the memory care community, she nodded her head yes (since the stroke, she hasn’t been able to speak).

I told him that it was no longer her job to cook, clean, or take care of him. Up until the stroke, she was his caregiver, as he’s had progressive memory loss for years. I told them that their individual needs differ now. Mom cannot use language, but dad can and should take part in community activities designed to exercise the brain and fight memory loss.

The community’s social worker has started working with my mom to help her communicate her feelings. My mom didn’t like using communication boards. I knew from previous attempts at using them that my mom doesn’t seem to understand what the drawings on the boards represent. She didn’t want to try writing either, as she knows that she simply cannot.

BUT… the social worker discovered that my mom responds to ASL (American Sign Language). So now my mom, dad, and I are using simple ASL signs to communicate. Not sure how much my father will remember due to his dementia, nor how much my mother really understands due to her stroke and vascular dementia. At least, my parents seem to enjoy learning it.

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18 thoughts on “Reunited and Learning ASL

  1. dialogueofathena April 8, 2017 / 8:03 pm

    ASL is an incredible language that I think more people should know. I work for a company that helps processes calls for the Deaf. Even if you’re unable to speak, ASL is a valuable 2nd language. I’ve been learning it myself just to talk to coworkers I work with. Thank you for sharing you experiences. I’ve just found your blog, and I appreciate the things you share… especially about mental health. I just began my own blog about mental health and other topics (even 1 on the Deaf). I look forward to reading more of your posts 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kitt O'Malley April 9, 2017 / 12:13 am

      Thank you. I’m looking forward to checking out your blog.

      Like

  2. dyane March 10, 2017 / 7:34 pm

    I’m so glad your parents are back together, and I will have them in my prayers (you too, of course) that it works out much better this time! I’m thankful your mom has a good social worker who realized your mom could utilize ASL to communicate. It’s also great they are both willing to learn simple signs. You continue to amaze me with your strength during a tremendously challenging time. You’re the BEST daughter a parent could ask for. Love you, Kitt!!!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Cassandra Stout March 9, 2017 / 5:33 pm

    Best of luck to your parents as they transition into a new phase of life. I know that this is difficult for all involved, but hopefully the ASL will make it easier!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Just Plain Ol' Vic March 9, 2017 / 5:23 pm

    That is wonderful that you have a way to communicate Mom! I wish you continued success and I am rooting for you and your family Kitt. The blogging world loves you too!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Paladin March 9, 2017 / 4:26 pm

    On the fourteenth it will be π day math geek. On the seventeenth, St. Patrick’s Day, your parents will be together for another anniversary. Sent you a recognition award e-mail earlier this month. Perhaps it was a premonition something good would happen. You sure are an unpredictable paradox and quite resilient.

    Warmest Regards to You & Family !!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Viv@Grief Happens March 9, 2017 / 3:40 pm

    My grandmother responded well to ASL after her stroke. It allowed her to communicate AND she enjoyed learning it and was happiest when the therapist who taught her came. Lots of the residents in her facility knew sign language and once my grandmother knew just a few signs it really opened her up socially. Wishing you and your parents all the best.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Leslie March 9, 2017 / 2:24 pm

    Awhile back, when my grandfather was still alive, there was a young woman who worked at their Retirement Community in the Dining Room who was deaf. “The Manor” took it upon themselves to start teaching whoever wanted to learn to sign. My grandparents enjoyed it a great deal and every so often I will catch Mommom signing “Thank you”. I hope it works for your parents!

    Liked by 1 person

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