In the past few months, two of E’s family members have died. One, a man in his 70’s, died of a suspected aneurysm. The other, a 39-year-old man, took his own life. I did not tell her about either. She would not remember. But she would be very sad.
Grieving these men I, too, loved without her grieving along with me has been hard. I’m sad she does not remember her family. Caring for her while knowing I’m not telling her everything is hard.
But not telling her was the next right thing. Read more [...]
Breakfast! Greek yogurt, fresh strawberries, and granola. Yum!
I noticed something odd this morning.
If her food is already on the table when she sits down, she often stares into space and ignores it. She won’t start eating until I prompt her to do so.
This morning, she was already seated at the table as I put things on her placemat. She started eating immediately, with no prompting. As I thought back, this seems to be the case most of the times I’ve served her after Read more [...]
Twice each week a Companion comes to spend two hours with E. They play games, do paperwork (as she calls her workbooks), and go on adventures.
Her Companion always gets eye level with her and introduces herself upon arrival. “Hello, E. I’m M. I’m going to spend a couple of hours with you today.”❤️❤️
Today her Companion spent a full hour with her separating a deck of card by suit then putting each suit in order by number. E loved it! It was hard, but she did it. And she enjoyed Read more [...]
She almost never wants to take a nap if I ask her. No matter how tired she may be.
She also no longer knows when she needs to use the toilet, but she is willing to go to the bathroom anytime I suggest it.
From the day she moved in, she has only used her bathroom. She has to walk through her bedroom to get to her bathroom.
How does all this fit together???
When she’s very tired (or I need an afternoon break), I simply say, “Hey, sweetheart, you haven’t gone to the Read more [...]
Today she sat in a chair in the entryway for more than an hour.
When I said something to my husband about it, he said, “She gets to make so few decisions about her life…You make most decisions for her now…It’s good to let her make the decision about where she sits. Even if it is an odd place. She is not hurting anything. And she seems content. Just let her sit there.”
Yes. He’s right. I know he’s right.
I have to choose my battles. Where she sits should not be one of them.
Read more [...]
A few months ago I was having a very hard week. I didn’t think I could do this whole caregiver thing. I was overwhelmed and scared.
I did a One-On-One Session with Vicky Noland Fitch (author of Dementia with Grace). I asked her how would I know it’s time to move E into a facility.
Vicky replied, “When caring for her is affecting your marriage too negatively.” She explained that, based on what she knows about me from our talks and my posts, she thought I was doing a good job of caregiving. Read more [...]
I created an activity book for E. I added worksheets that use the same exercises the Speech Therapist did with her.
Today we were working on the “Who, What, When, Where, and How” pages of her activity book. Here are a few of her answers.
Q: Where do you hang your clothes?
A: On floor. [followed by a mischievous grim]
Q: What color is the sky? A: Blaaaaaaaaaa. [it’s been raining for weeks]
Q: What do people do at church?A: Pray their guts out!
Q: What day of the week do people Read more [...]
I know you thought your words were cute.
I know you meant for your comments on my social media posts to be funny.
I know you are just kidding.
I know your answer is meant to be silly.
I know it is meant in jest.
I know you are trying to be humorous and make people laugh.
I know your sarcastic comments on social media are meant to be lighthearted and fun.
But what you don’t know is that every time you say things like that - when you answer with biting sarcasm Read more [...]
Four years ago I wrote a post titled “It’s Not My Story to Tell“ in which I discuss when it’s appropriate to tell someone else’s story. Hint: It is rarely okay to tell someone else’s story.
And, yet, I’m about to do exactly that. I am going to tell you E’s story, and I’m going to share my story as her caregiver.
I am now the full time caregiver for my stepmom Evelyn. (I often refer to her in writing as E.) E is 76 years old and physically healthy. She suffers Read more [...]