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…)
My smart phone is still smarter than I am, but I’m gaining on it. I’ve downloaded a couple of apps, taken and sent pictures, Tweeted and mastered lots of the other essentials of staying in touch in the modern world. Mom would be fascinated. (more…)
One of the hardest things about being a caregiver is grieving a loss that is ongoing. We had a grief counselor speak at one of our caregiver support meetings, and she suggested that we consider personal and or group rituals to help us to let go of the relationship as we knew it and to move into acceptance of the present reality. The tributes I wrote about on Wednesday were part of that process. Another was our “Favorite Photos and Memories” night. The idea was simple. Each caregiver brought a favorite photo of their loved one and shared the memory behind the photo with the group. It was one of my favorite meetings. (more…)
Several years ago I co-facilitated a caregiver support group with David and another couple who cared for her mother in their home. When we started the group, we planned programs and invited speakers, but we soon learned that what the caregivers needed most was a safe place to talk. Even so, each week I began with a short devotional or reading to focus the discussion and avoid the chaos that can result when all the hurts and resentments bubble up at once. One of our more successful evenings was when we talked about tributes. (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…)
As I typed “Part 10 of 10,” I felt a little like Johnny Carson as Carnac the Magnificent saying, “I hold in my hand the last envelope.” Unlike his audience, I hope my readers aren’t clapping and hurrahing at the end of a long, tedious series.
The last warning sign is changes in mood and personality. All of us, especially as we get older, develop specific ways of doing things, and we sometimes become irritable when a routine is disrupted. Once again, Alzheimer’s may cause people to carry this irritation to extremes: (more…)
Have you ever made a bad decision? What about that used car that the guy assured you was in mint condition, or those expensive designer shoes that hurt your feet just a little bit, or that boyfriend you forgave because he swore she was just a friend. Yeah, we’ve all had lapses in judgment from time to time, but people with Alzheimer’s take “decreased or poor judgment” to a whole new level: (more…)
I received a letter from the Alzheimer’s Association this week. It was an acknowledgement of a gift made in honor of Mom by my sweet mother-in-law Betty. The timing was perfect since Monday was Mom’s birthday, and September is World Alzheimer’s Month. The back of the letter was devoted to an article titled “10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s disease.” An article in our local paper about Alzheimer’s Month listed several ways to observe the month, one of which was to speak up about the disease. I can’t speak with authority about causes, treatment, cure, research, numbers affected, or what’s on the horizon in relation to this insidious disease, but I can speak about my experience, so I’m devoting my next several posts to the warning signs. (more…)