I Need a Break!
If you are or ever have been a caregiver, you know how important it is to get a break now and then. I read an article this morning by Jeff Anderson called Tips for Taking Caregiver Vacations: Respite Care. Jeff wrote mostly about how caregivers can use short-term stays at residential care facilities to get a break. I never took advantage of this kind of respite care. The idea of making the arrangements for both Mom and Dad and packing their clothes and medications, not to mention the expense involved, was overwhelming. But there were many other kinds of respite care that gave me an occasional break in the routine and saved my sanity.
Even when Dad could no longer hear much of what was going on and Mom couldn’t understand what she heard, we continued to go to Sunday School and worship services every Sunday. I dropped Mom and Dad at a class for older adults before going to my own class and picked them up afterward on the way to the sanctuary. It was amazing what that hour did to raise my spirits. (more…)
A few weeks ago, the good people at Assisted Living Directory asked me to write an article for their website. I wrote a brief account of Mom and Dad’s journey from independent living through moving in with us and on to assisted living. The article featured one of my favorite pictures with this caption: (more…)
Last month www.Ageingcare.com posted an article by Marlo Sollitto called LOL: Why You Should Laugh Even When You Don’t Feel Like It. It said that laughter is good for you both physically and mentally. The author acknowledged that caregivers often find nothing funny in their lives, but even fake laughter can have positive effects. I sometimes wonder if my caregiving experience would have been easier for all of us if I had laughed more.
Two elderly ladies met at the grocery store after not seeing one another for some time.
“Oh, Helen, it’s so good to see you. How are you doing?”
“You know how it is, Joan. I’m not bad for a woman of my age. How about you?”
“I know what you mean. Other than a high this and a low that I’m fine. How’s Ted?” (more…)
A friend who is also a caregiver recently confided in me that one of the hardest parts of her job is not knowing who will greet her when she gets up in the morning. Will it be the confident, efficient, take-charge man she has known for half a century, or will it be the man who is struggling with a life-threatening illness, the one whose mind is fogged by pain and medications, the one who can’t remember how to tie his shoes? (more…)
Yesterday I cited an article from an AgingCare.com newsletter about Daylight Savings Time. The newsletter had another article by the same author, Anne-Marie Botek, titled “Why a Nurse Refused to Give a Dying Woman CPR.” It was about the controversy surrounding the death of an 87-year-old woman who was a resident of Glenwood Gardens, an “independent living facility” in Bakersfield, California. When the woman collapsed, a staff member called 911. The staff member was a nurse, and the 911 operator pleaded with her to administer CPR until the paramedics arrived, but the nurse refused, citing facility policy against doing so. The ambulance arrived within minutes and transported the patient to the hospital where she was later pronounced dead. Shocking, right? When I first heard the story on the O’Reilly Factor last week, I thought so, but after reading this article and thinking about Mom and Dad’s situations, I’m not so sure. (more…)
No generation gap here.
I’m at that age that some poetically call the Autumn of Life, and I’m approaching Winter more quickly than I care to admit. But whatever you call it, it’s a season when end of life issues demand more attention than they did in earlier years. I lost both my parents in the last two years, and I spend more time looking at sympathy cards than congratulation cards lately. We’ve had two deaths in our church family recently, and while the situations were very different in most ways, there was a similarity that is worth a little attention – cross-generational caregiving. (more…)
As you read today’s blog, you will notice a recurrent theme – but I forget what it is.
“How was your golf game, Jack?” said his wife.
“I was hitting pretty well, but my eyesight’s gotten so bad I couldn’t see where the ball went.”
“Well, you are 75. Why don’t you take my brother Scott along?”
“He’s 85 and doesn’t even play golf anymore.”
“But he’s got perfect eyesight. He could watch your ball.”
The next day Jack took Scott along. While Scott sat in the cart, Jack teed off, and the ball disappeared down the middle of the fairway.
“Did you see where it went it?” (more…)
I almost began this post with I haven’t written much in the last week or so, but that’s not really accurate. I’ve written a lot: agendas for meetings; e-mails announcing meetings and encouraging people to attend; copy for flyers, posters and the church website; more e-mails answering questions. Our church is hosting an area-wide ladies’ conference in January, and our pastor asked me to coordinate the event. If I could re-wind to that moment when I said Sure, why not, I might think again before answering.
Seriously, I’m enjoying the experience, and the response from people who are willing to help has been amazing, but it’s also amazing how much time and focus is required. Something else that is amazing is how, in spite of no longer being directly involved with Alzheimer’s and being totally focused on something other than my writings about caring for those with the disease, I am still faced with Alzheimer’s again and again. (more…)
I don’t know if we had health insurance when I was a child. When I had a sore throat that wouldn’t go away, I went to the doctor, and the rest of the time, I didn’t give any thought to healthcare. Now our entire way of life revolves around the subject.
Health insurance became a personal issue years later after I was married and wanted to start a family. Maternity coverage was excluded from many insurance plans, and if it was included at all, there were stringent limitations. My husband was considering changing jobs, and one of the normal coverage limitations was that maternity benefits didn’t kicked in for a year after the inception of a new policy. On (more…)
After ten days of focusing on the warning signs of Alzheimer’s, I decided it was time to lighten the mood a bit.
Grandma decided to put a jigsaw puzzle together, so she grabbed the box and poured the pieces out on the table. After a while, she began to get frustrated and called Grandpa.
“George, can you come in here and give me a hand.” (more…)