Category Archives: Caregiving

a make believe note to the doctor #ENDALZ

I read a lot:

I wonder if this make believe scenario could happen. . . . . . The caregiver and the parent arrive at the doctors office, the caregiver made the appointment, the parent has alzheimer’s. A note is passed to the receptionist. Here is what is written on it.

Dear Doctor. I have been a 24/7 caregiver for my parent for six years. It’s been three years since my parent recognized anyone. Incontinence has been part of our lives for the last year and a half. The resistance towards me helping is growing. If I don’t help, my parent will just sit around in that situation for hours. In fact, it almost seems to sedate my parent. Doctor, my parent is five foot eight inches tall and weighs one hundred and sixty pounds, doesn’t stop, always on the move, sleeps occasionally, I never know when, never know how long. I have no resources, we barely get by, I have no help. I don’t want to put my parent in a home because I think they will handle the situation with chemicals (medication). I don’t want that, but, and this is a big but, I’m asking you to do the same, unless you can tell me something else that will solve this situation. Doctor, I’m tired, worn down, I need some sleep. I need some help, and yes I know that the more medication, the more chances of my parent falling. Doctor, I can’t help my parent any, if I am dead. Is there anything we can give my parent, that will help me get some rest?

A quote – about alzheimer’s #ENDALZ

“Caring for an Alzheimer’s patient is a situation that can utterly consume the lives and well-being of the people giving care, just as the disorder consumes its victims.” » Leeza Gibbons

a caregiver story

she came out on U.S.Highway 70 to tell me she was a caregiver for her mom, and that she, as the caregiver, was struggling some. She had not heard of the Alzheimer’s Association, so she took one of my cards and agreed to give me some feed back.

A couple of months later she phoned me to say she made the call, listened, heard something she liked and had already attended two support group meetings. The last time we chatted she is still involved with the Alzheimer’s Association.

This happened in 2013 while I was crossing America.

Alzheimer’s – some optimism #ENDALZ

Failed clinical trials and the continued lack of money for research leaves me with a feeling of pessimism. Bill and Melinda Gates getting involved is big to me, as they announced they are going to help scientists examine other theories. The longitudinal study in Columbia is exciting because they feel certain that everyone in the study will get alzheimer’s. The NIH is setting aside some money for new scientists, with fresh ideas. Thoughts of those things brings a feeling of optimism.

Hearing success stories from caregivers, accounts of them adapting, reading about laws being passed that may help them, and reading about the growth of support groups, memory cafes and more community involvement brings optimism.

Reading that our nation, as a whole, is eating healthier and exercising more is great news. That’s talk about prevention right there, good talk.

A lot of progress has been made in many areas. Necessity, sometimes, can be the mother of invention.

Facility visit – Ross Woods – Dalton Georgia

It was about 5 years ago that we were allowed to visit this facility in Dalton Georgia. It, I’m pretty sure, was full and it was impressive, to say the least. Being able to leave a family member or friend with trained folks is of great value.

Adult day care provides caregivers with much-needed respite, giving them a break to run errands, spend time with family or just get away from the stress of caregiving.

we visited nursing homes

The Alzheimer’s Association arranged the visits and most were quite lengthy and detailed. We spoke with administration, care staff, residents and visitors, and I would often ask residents about their past.

My dad was in a nursing home in Jesup Georgia several years ago. He seemed to enjoy the friendly banter with certain caregivers, and they spoke of his constant smile. I remember the empathy of the staff as we were leaving the home for the last time.

a bit about our story

When I arrived here two years and two days ago, mom looked frail to me. About an hour after my arrival, her husband fell. He fell often, mostly when moving from his scooter to a chair or vice versa. Family that lives near were able to be here some, but not enough to keep mom from tugging on her husband. Each time she did, she would hurt herself. One time before I arrived she called 911 and they came and helped. The local authorities told mom to call anytime the need arose, but she wouldn’t anymore. Most of the time when he fell, she would end up cleaning him up. She looked worn and sounded it. He passed away a couple of months after my arrival.

memory cafes

I had never heard the phrase before, but, all of a sudden, a sign, this was in 2013, Mary’s Memory Cafe, in Flagstaff, Arizona. The door was locked and it would not open until the next afternoon, I went on. Looking in the window told me a little bit. There were couches, tables and chairs, a counter, it appeared, for ordering food, and pictures of old times, on the walls. The sign on the door spoke of afternoon and evening events several times a week.

Later, I read that the idea had probably began in Europe in the late 1990’s, and had gotten very popular.

Never been to one, sounds pretty cool. What a cool way to bring folks together.

My friend William Glass sent me an invitation last night to Amy’s Place, Memory Cafe, in Roswell, Georgia.

P.S. I just remembered, in 2014, there was a sign in either Holly Springs or Canton, GA, speaking of one that was going to open, but as far as I know it never did. It seems like that would have been a good place.

a caregiving milestone

Two years ago today, I drove into moms yard, the time has flew. Mom’s husband was having health problems and she needed help with him. He passed away a few weeks after my arrival and the decision was made for me to remain with my now 89 year old mom. I’m a work in progress as a caregiver, but very willing to stay the course.

My Favorite Quote;

”When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me’ “ Erma Bombeck

my advice to me as a caregiver 

A definition of the word “Embrace” – an act of accepting or supporting something willingly or enthusiastically.

Embrace it, it’s real, it’s here to stay because of who you are inside. That’s your mom, and no matter what occurs, or when, you will make sure she is safe. 

Get a legal pad and a pencil, with an eraser, and start writing. Put on paper the parts of your life caregiving may adversely affect and work to improve the areas you can. Make sure family and friends know you didn’t abandon them. 

Stop being frustrated and thinking life can go back to the way it once was, because it probably will never be the same.

Have fun, get excited, stay strong and help your mom. 

Also, when you can, take a little time off, and when you do, enjoy it. You have family that will help. 

P.S. Go on and have a Great Life while doing the right thing. You, my friend, are one “Persistent” dude!