We hope you enjoyed this gorgeous Independence weekend. We had perfect weather and celebrated with close friends.
As liberating and empowering as independence can be, it is a frightening concept for Corey. It is much easier to be dependent and much easier to be cared for. It’s tempting to simply turn your troubles and responsibilities over to someone else. If you do that, however, you lose your self, your direction and your freedom.
I have been working with Corey for the last several months on overcoming her fear of independence. We are focusing not only on her physical abilities (including walking, dressing, personal care etc) but her cognitive, emotional and behavioral abilities as well.
It has been very challenging to re-teach the concept and benefits of living as an independent adult, as Corey is not cognitively ‘mature’ enough to understand the relationship. The major block is her memory loss. After a recent explanation of the benefits, I asked Corey if she understood what I was trying to tell her.
C – the problem is I don’t feel mature. My brain still tells me I’m in 5th grade. I know I’m 21 but I think I feel 14 most of the time. I don’t know how to be mature.
I found this conversation fascinating. Of course she continues to fight us…she truly doesn’t understand why she needs to be independent, in her mind she’s not ready. We see her as an adult but internally she is thinking as if she was in middle school. We expect her to act appropriately often forgetting she has injured the
the center for reasoning and maturity.
Several weeks ago I made a decision. I began teaching her how to become independent as a toddler and she can relearn it again!
I started with her bedtime ritual 3 weeks ago. Normally, we help Corey dress, give her meds and transfer her to her bed. She was terrified to sleep alone and in the dark. I sat in her room until she fell asleep (which often took well over an hour). I’d play music, answer her 50 questions and not leave the room until I was convinced she was sound asleep. Our overnight nurses would wait until she was asleep and then come in to relieve me.
Its taken 3 weeks of using the same mantra; I’m 51 and Mom’s don’t sleep in the same room as their 21 year old children; she was safe in her room, I was down the hall and I would hear her if she needed me (I have a camera/monitor in her room) and she was capable of going to sleep by herself without me in the room. I remind her which overnight nurse will be in; I have to sleep so I can take care of her during the day and I will see her in the morning.
I’m happy to say, last night and tonight I helped Corey dress, gave her meds, transferred her to the bed, kissed her goodnight and left her room immediately. Tonight when I kissed her goodnight she said, “night mom, love you, see you in the morning”.
Independence and self-sufficiency takes great effort, persistence, strength and commitment.
It’s a lot of work and worth every bit of it. Yes it can be frightening, but we have to fight for it. For in that independence, there are endless possibilities and opportunities to explore and achieve the life we want to live, xoxo