Life with Ma: 'When she’s in one family home, she typically prefers the other'

Ma is the mother of Dilly’s husband (Mr B), she was diagnosed with dementia in 2012. Ma agreed to let Dilly write about the family's life and experiences in the Life with Ma series.

A few months ago we visited Ma and met her, along with the northern family, in a local restaurant. She was on good form.

Her macular degeneration restricts what she can see, but this didn’t appear to bother her – her granddaughter had fitted Ma with a head torch to help see her dinner!

Exploring an art gallery

The next day we met up at the Whitworth Art Gallery, often the scene of Ma’s disparaging remarks about exhibited works (she was a painter herself).

This time, she fell in love with threadwork tapestries that reflected the journeys and memories of the refugees involved in creating them.

Ma was also inspired by some large stuffed objects on display: ‘I want to jump on those, but I better not!’

We spent hours in the café, Ma playing with her baby great-grandson and making a comic face whenever he gently bit down on her finger.

Happy 93rd birthday, Ma

After Christmas, Ma turned 93 and so we rang to wish her a happy birthday and read out cards that had come to us. As ever, she was vague about recent events but happy to share her decided opinions, which can seem strange to us.

She whispered, ‘I can’t say when your brother’s around, but I’m a prisoner here in the back room – it feels like there are bars on the window!’

When she’s in one family home she typically says she prefers the other one, but we think this new perception was caused by poor eyesight restricting her view during dark Winter evenings.

Hopefully this will be resolved now Spring is here!

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Lindy I could have written that post. Trouble is I just want to stay away now and leave my mother to get on with it because she is so cruel to me and favours a brother who does nothing at all for her .She won't let anyone into her house and when she goes to the GP she's so sweet and willing.

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My mom too has macular degeneration’ has also lost a lot of sight when a stroke damaged her retinas. She is profoundly deaf too . She lives in her own home but is lately showing a lot of aggression and anger towards m, Her only carer. The doctor has suggested a mental health assessment even though she can pass the memory test easily. Will a diagnosis help us get some support? At the moment she won’t accept any other help but mine, yet she verbally abuses me constantly and claims I am stealing from her and ruining her life.

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