The other night we ate out at a little Italian cafe that we have been wanting to try for a while. My mom loves pasta and she asked me to order for her. I ordered one of her all-time favorites, angel hair pasta with basil and tomato sauce, figuring that would be a safe bet. She didn't seem to like it, and didn't eat very much, so I had to give her something else when we got home. It was no big deal. I didn't think too much about it.
Last night we went out to another local restaurant I have been wanting to try. Their specialty is "hip" home cooking. Mom was immediately drawn to the spaghetti and meatballs on the menu, so I ordered it for her. The plate arrived, heaped with spaghetti and two gigantic meatballs. After a few minutes I noticed she was struggling, not sure whether to use her spoon or knife. I replaced the spoon with the fork in her hand and she started to twirl the spaghetti, but was still having trouble. I cut up the spaghetti into more manageable bite-sized pieces and she was able to eat some of it, but it was clear she was frustrated. She did manage to polish off the meatballs.
That night as she was going to bed I asked her if she liked the restaurant and she apologized for having had trouble with her food. I dismissed that and told her not to worry — from now on I know better to be sure that the pasta I order for her is penne or something more manageable. When I make pasta at home it's usually penne or shells — that's what my daughter likes. I just haven't thought about it. Until now. Having a parent with dementia, everything is new and a little confusing — not just to them, but to me, too. I need to rethink some things as my mom needs to adjust to what she can do, too. Luckily pasta, which she loves, comes in a lot of easy-to-eat shapes and sizes.