Some people think of food as a simple necessity to keep our bodies fuelled and ready for action. Since I can remember my Mum considered food, and in particular cooking, as an art form. She would spend hours making sumptuous meals, homemade pastries and curries prepared from her own secret paste as spicy as her mischievous mood on the day. So when Mum got a cook book out to check how to make a pie and she grilled a cake, it was a sign that things were a miss.
As the Alzheimer's progressed Dad & I were served many interesting concoctions: stewed apple, chips and custard sticks in my memory! The progression continued and as Mum stopped cooking altogether she became very agitated if someone else was in her kitchen preparing food. Even joint cooking resulted in too much of an argument for a successful meal.
It was a difficult time to get healthy food inside Mum and Dad, and much as I tried to empathise with Mum's frustration at losing her independence, and also losing her long held passion for food, the whole family was really worried at our parents' obvious loss of weight. We all, particularly Dad, struggled through this testing time, but, as is the way with this illness, eventually Mum became less territorial of her kitchen and we managed to get care agency staff in to cook meals.
Watching Mum lose her ability to cook has been hard, but last week I saw pure delight on her face as she sat in her apron ready to make mini muffins with another resident in her care home. Long may these happy moments continue.
If you would like to share your experiences of caring email: Write-to-Hannah@hotmail.co.ukFor further information about the services and support available from the Alzheimer's Society visit www.alzheimers.org.uk or call 0300 2221122