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WHAT’S YOUR EXCUSE?

Decorated Christmas Tree
Even something as simple as putting up the Christmas tree could be a great help for Alzhiemer’s caregivers.

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Originally posted 2011-12-10 05:37:08.

A DIFFERENT KIND OF RESPITE

My friend Jayne stayed with Ken yesterday.  I had to do some work at one of our rentals and while I can slip away for a few hours in the early morning as he sleeps late and a few more hours in the afternoon (cell phone in pocket), I am always a little uneasy knowing he is alone.   I have no past history for concern, but I am constantly aware that there is a “first time” for everything. 

He is not a wanderer, but I have observed he likes to open the front door and step outside where he stands on the front porch surveying the neighborhood.  Finding it in tact he returns, closing and locking the door behind him.   He might take a short walk but no further than three or four houses then he’s back —  satisfied that he has done his duty – – whatever that is; or he checks the cars in the driveway to make sure they are locked and secure.  More of his duty and ritual.  I don’t worry about his cooking as I pull the 220 fuse from the meter box when I leave.

For short errands I take him with me, but when the list is long, or there are chores to be done elsewhere  it goes so much faster if I leave him at home.  But, again, there is always an inward urgency to return as quickly as possible.   That’s why it is such a treat for me when Jayne is able to come and spend the day whether my day needs to be spent working, doing errands or keeping a doctor’s appointment.  

I was amazed at how well the work at the rental went without the small nagging voice within me to get home.  The other bonus was that I felt not only liberated, but at the end of the day was exhilarated beyond belief at the amount of work accomplished.  I know that I can count on my family any time I need them, but they have families and homes to care for as well as their own jobs.  Yet I know they are “there” for me anytime I ask so I’m saving them for something more urgent.  While I know it wasn’t an easy day for Jayne (though she claims to enjoy her chosen assignment) she  is retired and is pleased to render this compassionate service, and how I do appreciate it.     I have heard people say that “change” is often as good as a rest, and while I worked hard at what I was doing, the freedom from worry was indeed a rest.  Thank you Jayne.

Originally posted 2009-02-12 02:21:03.

GAMES WE PLAY

“Where’s the boss?” he asks.  With that question I know he has become Mr. Hyde, who is married, but not to me.  “She had to go to work,” I tell him.  “You know she has a very important job at the mall and won’t be home until late.  Furthermore, she’s always on call, that’s why she just seems to disappear and doesn’t have time to say goodbye.”

“Why do you do that?” asked my friend, Jayne,” who is visiting and wonders about this fictional game we play.

“Because it’s easier and this way I don’t have to argue with him,” I answer.  Then I went on to explain to her that at first I would try to convince him I was his wife — “the boss” — the nickname he has given me for more years than I can count.  “No you’re not,” he would insist, looking at me like it was my mind that was gone.  “I am your wife.  We are married.” I used to claim.   “Come into the bedroom and look at our anniversary photo above the dresser.”  He followed, looked at the photo, then at me and said,  “That’s not you!  You don’t hold a candle to her.  Why don’t you leave.”  Other times I would show him our marriage license and my driver’s license.  Anything to convince him that I was, indeed, his wife.  He hid the marriage license and tried to confiscate my driver’s license.  No matter what I did or said when he was/is Mr. Hyde he just won’t believe that I am his wife.

Consequently, I have become the “hired girl.”  (He sees me as someone very young, which can’t be all bad, and believes I live with my parents and am still in school.)  Good enough for me.  I tell him that caring for him is my job and I get paid by his wife.  I leave when she comes home.  So I tell Jayne, “I play the part because it keeps the peace.”

Originally posted 2009-01-31 04:56:38.

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