Sweetie: you said it in your post in my Alzeimer's thread: it's THEIR LOSS! I just posted the same thought in Pearl's thread and mentioned you, also.
Mimi....I felt the same way when Mom was living with us, nevermind the Alz! Her small group of friends, except for one, dropped off the face of the earth! And the one who called is one of those busy-bodies who probably just wanted information to pass along to others! I think perhaps we're projecting our feelings onto our Moms, and feeling that they're abandoned, when really...they're content with having us care for them. I know my Mom wouldn't have wanted anyone to see her in her condition when her Alzeimer's took hold...she's always been a proud lady. Family members who don't take the time to visit will one day know they weren't there for her. They'll realize their children didn't spend enough time with Grandma. And, in the end, there isn't a darn thing they'll be able to do about it. But you'll be able to hold your head up high, knowing you saw your Mom through this insidious disease every step of the way...that you offered her all the Love she needed...that you were the one who truly CARED. As for the others, there isn't a darn thing we can do to MAKE them care...it truly is THEIR LOSS.
Now, when I visit Mom in the NH, our time is so much more precious. It's hard to explain, but I'm no longer the one making her take her pills, drink her Ensure, help her in the bathroom...I'm now free to breeze in to visit her, bring her treats (she asked for chocolates next time I visit!;-)...do her nails...smile and genuinely have special times with her. She still remembers who we are, and it was so sweet yesterday: My DH was holding and petting her hand as we sat by the picture-window in their dining-room, and I was applying polish on her other hand. I just KNOW she felt so loved at that moment... I'm sure she wallowed in the attention!.....We can afford to do these things now that we are able to focus our attention on HER rather than the duties that need to be done! It was a special moment.
You mentioned that your Mom had difficulty negotiating a knife: perhaps it's time to cut things up for her so that she can use a fork or spoon to pick them up. I know that I ended up almost making two dinners here, or making things like meat-loaf, shepherd's pies, other casseroles, etc more often than we normally would have so that she was able to eat with less effort. Even chewing their food seems to eventually take so much effort on their part. And, as our doctor said, this is no time for Canada's Food Guide: load them up on calories to maintain their weight, which is important, because they lose the ability to process foods later on, and you'll find your Mom losing weight even though she may be eating very well. Don't panic like I did...just know that she needs more calories: Mom loved her milk-shakes! (with Ensure in them...shhhh ;-)
I hope we can be helpful to you, Mimi, as you continue the journey with your Mom. The gals on this board have seen me through many emotions, much turmoil, and venting...they're all so precious to me; I hope to be able to be as helpful to you and others now.