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Cherishing the Moments

There are times when I get tired of being a caregiver, but I remind myself to cherish the moments.  The day will arrive when I will no longer have my loved one.

Cheirsh the time you have together
Cheirsh the time you have together

So what are some ways to cherish the moments:

Listen to what they have to say

  • Discuss their lives—this is difficult as they have less to say; but often we listen to descriptions of the book my grandmother is reading
  • Listen to memories and family stories
  • Put away devices—my grandmother doesn’t understand the computer and iPhone. While we can’t put them away completely; we do try to designate time without them each day/visit
  • Enjoy the time together—for us this often involves just taking a ride or sitting quietly
  • Celebrate Christmas—I have a friend whose has a parent that was only given a few months to live. Knowing the parent would not make it to Christmas, they celebrated early.  {This could also work for other special events or holidays}

How do you cherish the moments?

Pause, Praise, Pray

Pause, Praise and Pray

“I go to work to get away.”  A lady in the support group I lead admitted rather sheepishly.

Take time to Pause, Praise and Pray
Take time to Pause, Praise and Pray

Caring for a loved one is very tiring and trying.  A loved one with Alzheimer’s, that needs constant supervision, is even more of a trial.

Caregiving cannot be a lone support.  Don’t be afraid to admit you need help and to ask for it.

We all need a break.  Whether it’s to work, to go shopping, to do something special for ourselves or be pampered.  Don’t be afraid to get away.

No one can go 24/7 without becoming exhausted, depressed and eventually physically ill.

I enjoy reading the blog Living in the Shadows of Alzheimer’s.  While documenting her life with her husband that has Alzheimer’s, Sherri often reminds herself {and her readers} to take time to Pause, Praise and Pray.

How do you take time to pause, praise and pray?

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Caregiving Monday: Thank a CNA

Do you have a loved one in a nursing facility?

CNAs are there to assist the nurses and help with activities of daily living
CNAs are there to assist the nurses and help with activities of daily living

Take the time to thank a CNA {Certified Nursing Assistant}.  While everyone’s job is important and the facility should work as a team, the CNA’s take on the bulk of the work for a fraction of the cost.

I often hear frustrations over how long it takes to answer a call light or about a need.  In my position, I can listen but I do not have the skills to assist with activities of daily living {such as dressing, toileting, etc}.

While there are some CNAs that may not pull their weight, the majority of CNAs work hard.  They often have ten or more residents to care for at a time.

So the next time you visit your loved one I encourage you to take a moment to thank a CNA.

How has a CNA helped you?

Alz awareness

World Alzheimer’s Day

Today is World Alzheimer’s Day.

September 21 is World Alzheimer's Day
September 21 is World Alzheimer’s Day

September 21st, is the date chosen by the Alzheimer’s organizations, to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s and dementia.

According to Alzinfo.org, someone develops Alzheimer’s every 68 seconds.

With Alzheimer’s, family members slowly watch their loved one die again and again.  With each stage comes more loss of memory and motor skills.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve witness pain cross an individual’s face because their parent did not remember them.

Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States.

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3 Everyday Lessons for an Alzheimer’s Caregiver by Kathleen Brown

Today, I am thrilled to welcome Kathleen Brown to Caregiving Monday.  She is going to share lessons she has learned from being an Alzheimer’s Caregiver.  This seemed very apropos today, because Wednesday is World Alzheimer’s Day.  Welcome, Kathleen!

 

3 Everyday Lessons for an Alzheimer’s Caregiver
by Kathleen Brown

Sapphires were once associated with clear thinking
Sapphires were once associated with clear thinking

I discovered Mom had Alzheimer’s during a September trip. September. Its flower is the forget-me-not; its gemstone, the sapphire. Sapphires were

once associated with clear thinking. As I began caring for Mom, in the house where I grew up, I hoped the clear thinking part was for me.

If you’re an at-home caregiver, you know it presents unique challenges. My first weeks with Mom felt like one emergency after another; I was on adrenaline overload. Then I began noticing the miracles: tiny ones (finding one of Mom’s shoes in the trash can), and huge ones (Mom suddenly agreeing to a long-needed bath). Feeling the Lord’s presence and help, I calmed down and began to learn. Fear not—you’ll see miracles, too.

Finding the best way, however, means we must look at all the options.
Finding the best way, however, means we must look at all the options.

 

Three of the Biggest Everyday Lessons

 

#1-You always have options.

In the beginning I thought there was only one right way to accomplish any care task. Wrong. There will always be more than one way to do what you need to do. Finding the best way, however, means we must look at all the options.

Example: Doctor to Mom: “Exercise.”
Mom to doc: “No.”
Solution: Two carts at the mega-store. While Dad shopped with one, Mom used the other like a walker, happy to stroll with me all around the store.

 

Laughing in the face of Alzheimer’s is absolutely necessary for survival
Laughing in the face of Alzheimer’s is absolutely necessary for survival

#2-Be ready to laugh.

Laughing in the face of Alzheimer’s is absolutely necessary for survival. The day Mom opened her mouth and I saw her dentures were in upside down, I smiled when I wanted to cry. After I fixed them, I laughed. Her poor gums were no longer being bitten by false teeth! Humor is an invaluable companion in caregiving.

 

When you need strength, you’ll have it.
When you need strength, you’ll have it.

#3-You will make it, even through the most difficult times.

When you need strength, you’ll have it. When you need words, they’ll come to you. When there’s nothing you can do to help your loved one, she will, against all odds, help herself. I can’t tell you how it happens—who can explain a miracle?—but I can tell you that resolution

always comes. Expect it.

Expecting solutions widens your field of vision. You’ll find resources and strategies you won’t see if your eyes are closed in despair.

We hope effective treatments for Alzheimer’s will come—someday. Ways to cure and even prevent it. Until then, our peace will be in knowing we can help our loved ones through it. We can.

 

 

Kathleen Brown
Kathleen Brown

 

Kathleen Brown is a writer, speaker, and firm believer in everyday miracles. The author of A Time for Miracles: Finding Your Way through the Wilderness of Alzheimer’s, she focuses her work on needs of at-home Alzheimer’s caregivers. You can reach Kathleen through her blog, www.hopeandhelpforalzheimers.wordpress.com, or by email to http://kbrown.writer@gmail.comkbrown.writer@gmail.com.

 

 

All pictures courtesy of Pixabay.com and are free creative commons pictures

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Beware of those Taking Advantage of the Elderly

In the process of moving my grandmother, we came across a couple who at first appeared to be very helpful and considerate.  However, the more time spent together the more we discovered how much they were attempting to take advantage of the situation.  Even when boundaries were set in place they attempted to cross over these boundaries.

Beware of those out to take advantage of the elderly
Beware of those out to take advantage of the elderly

They were very good at what they had done and we heard enough tales from others to discover this couple had their act down to a science.

Thankfully we were there to protect and watch out for my grandmother.  However, dealing with these individuals was a great headache and very stressful.

Sadly, this couple is not alone and there are numerous individuals out there willing and ready to take advantage of the elderly in a variety of ways.

So how can we prevent this?

  • Be aware of who the elderly are talking with
  • Block soliciting calls
  • Assist with their bills to make sure they are not sending money to scammers
  • Be the front person for any transactions
  • Instruct your elderly parent not to allow strangers in the house

How have you protected your loved ones from being taken advantage of?

listeningear

We All Need Someone to Listen

Caregiving can be very trying at times and we all need someone to listen.

We all need a listening ear
We all need a listening ear

We all need someone with whom we can share both our frustrations and the funny moments.

Now that my grandmother is living with Mama, we discover the need to share and vent has become even more important.

At least once a week, I’ll receive a text or call from Mama to share her conversations.

Two of these sound something like the following:

“It’s 6:30 and she’s pulled the shade down.  Never mind that it’s still light outside.”

“Mama had a frosty for lunch.  I said, “I guess you don’t want any ice cream since you had a frosty” tonight.  She said “I can eat a little.  The frosty was for lunch.”

Sometimes it’s the small things we need to share.  That’s okay.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to someone?

Who listens to you?