New Year’s Goals for Alzheimer’s Caregiving



January 1, 2014 Calendar

Making goals for the New Year can help caregivers redirect the care they give.

December 28, 2014 — It is a custom just about everywhere in the modern world for folks to look back over the past year, find out what didn’t happen which they were certain would happen because they had made resolutions; especially personal promises:  “I will lose a few pounds,”  ‘I will exercise more,”  “I will finish my project,” and so on and on.  So each new year, we do make promises to ourselves to do better than we did previously. 


So what does an Alzheimer’s caregiver do in making New Year’s resolutions?  For me I’m going to change the word to goals:  set new goals, especially after a decade when my loved one appears to have sunk into oblivion, so then what?  Gone, but not gone.  Discouraging though it may be it’s time to re-evaluate our original goals:  I remember that early time after the frustration and anger faded a bit, then it all changed into  an attitude of determination: To do and make the very best of where Ken and I were.  How best to do what was good for him and good for me, his caregiver.  He even said as much early on in his diagnosis, “We’ll get through this together,” he had assured me.  “If you’ll always remember to trust me,” I had answered.  Then in turn he promised that he would  always trust me in everything.  As beautiful as that moment was, he was unable to keep that promise even though he was as sincere as when he took his marriage vow


So that’s where I plan to start – at the beginning.  Back then every day was a new experience.  It was almost like becoming acquainted all over again.  He was almost a new person in my life.  Admittedly he was becoming someone I didn’t especially like.  I called him Mr. Hyde.  Not the terrible murdering villain in the old story of the good doctor Jekel becoming the evil criminal Mr. Hyde making a complete transition brought on by a chemical experiment by the good doctor himself.

Ken was never a cruel or unkind person.  My pseudo name for him, Mr. Hyde was merely recognizing that he was someone else.  He did, however,  become obnoxious and very difficult to live with.  Yet, we got through it together, just as he said.

 Knowing that adjusting to what is and not rant and rave about what isn’t is a key factor in survival.  So that’s where I will ;pick up my new goal.  And I must remember what my dear friend Madalyn said about her spent time with her AD husband, “It wasn’t all bad.”  I must agree.  The past ten years haven’t been all bad.  We had some tender and loving times, and we went places and were always ready to go when invited until he became incapacitated and immobile.


Reading charts and comparing graphs, I can see that Ken has now entered into the severe stage of this disease.  He is in his bed much of the time, but does spend time in his very own chair made comfortable for his needs.   He chatters to either his caregiver or me.  He doesn’t make much sense, but he appears to enjoy the conversations.


That’s where we are now:  Acce;pting all over again.  This is reality, and I have learned to live by the serenity prayer:  To change those things I can change, accept those things I cannot change, and God grant me the wisdom to know the difference.  And so the goal is to continue accepting Ken as he is, keeping him comfortable and as happy as he can be where he is in our home with me, and for me, as his caregiver to do the same. Borrowing a quote from Dieter F. Uchdorf on p. 5 of the January 2014 Ensign, he explained that if we fail to meet our goals, “we can be empowered….Even though we might fall short of our finish line, just continuing the journey will make us greater than we were before.”  So I will continue toward my new goals with dedication knowing that in so doing I will become stronger in all ways.The best to all and Happy New Year, and good luck in setting new goals for this coming year.

Picture courtesy of  “2014 Calendar,” by danielmoyle, from Flickr under Creative Commons.

Originally posted 2013-12-29 05:47:43.

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