Saturday, January 30, 2010

Drool........

Something I have always had an aversion to is excess saliva driping or running from a person's mouth....otherwise known as drool.  Now, there is an assortment of bodily excretions and eliminations by which one can develop a distinct distain for, but why do babies and the elderly drool?  Ok, baby drool, to me is cutesy, no problem there, but babies are supposed to drool, that is a part of the teething process I think?  But the elderly, why do they drool, most don't have teeth anymore, mom doesn't.  She doesn't even wear her dentures for about a year now.  I am going to do some medical research and I will return with my findings!

Ok!  Here is the result of my research!

Definition: Drooling is defined as unintentional loss of saliva from the mouth caused by inefficient unco-ordinated swallowing combined with a poorly synchronised lip closure.

Types of drooling:

a. Anterior drooling

b. Posterior drooling

Anterior drooling: In anterior drooling, saliva spills out of the oral cavity through the lips. This is common in infants under the age of 4. Any drooling occuring after the age of 4 should be considered pathological.

Posterior drooling: In posterior drooling saliva spills via the tongue over the fauces of tonsil. This type of drooling caused aspiration of saliva into the lungs.

Causes: (in mom's case)

Elderly individuals because of poor oral muscular inco-ordination

Problems of drooling:

Posterior drooling can cause coughing, gagging and aspiration


Elderly people due to dementia may forget to swallow their saliva and may hence drool.

http://www.drtbalu.com/Drooling.html


So there you have it, the reason most elderly drool.  Fortunately mom is able to mop up after herself most of the time.  I keep a cloth with her all the time so she can catch the drips, wipe off her mouth and chin.  Sometimes though she is not alert enough or quick enough to catch it.

A topic probably never discussed before in a blog, and certainly not enjoyable, but as always, keeping it real and telling it like it is!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What is Normal to a Caregiver is Not Normal to Others

To get away, to escape, to have respite, take a vacation, how ever you would define the luxury of getting away, it has a much different definition and result for a caregiver.   I have been able to get away at least once a year since I started caring for mom.  That isn't very much, but it is normal, for me.  I have lived an isolated  life here since caring for mom, getting out sometimes only once a month sometimes not even that.  The norm for me would be at least once every two weeks, that's the norm.  My "radar" is always tuned into what mom is or isn't doing, whether she is sitting in the wheel chair in the front room, or in bed in her room and no matter what time of day or night it is, that is my norm.

Getting away for me, requires massive and involved preparation, which I have talked about in other posts.  The task of it is enough to make me stay here and not go!  But, I manage to leave.  Now you would think I would relax and enjoy wherever I was going, whatever I was doing?  Mmmmm, no.  Because I have been taken out of my norm, my normal environment, my normal eat and sleep schedule.  I have been taken out of that 24/7 on-call, round the clock way of life and put into the norm of someone elses life.  It is not comfortable, it should be, but it's not.  Speaking for myself, I am not comfortable going somewhere else, and I am always anxious to get back to my normal! 

As much as this home has become my prison and caregiving my jailer (getting honest here folks, has to be that way), this is also where I feel secure.  It is difficult to just sit and do nothing somewhere, to not feed someone, change them, listen to them whine and so on. Even though there is desperate need to go away at times and have what others call normal take place for awhile, I can't really relax and enjoy it. I don't know how I will begin again and adapt to what others call normal once mom has left us.

Nourishment Part 2 - End of Life Feeding


In the earlier post where I talked about feeding mom, the decrease in nourishment intake has taken her to eating somewhere between 500 and 700 calories a day.  When this change took place early in Dec. of last year, it was very hard for me to accept.  One of the most important things to me in caring for mom is that I made sure she had enough to eat and that it was nourishing.  In 2006, she could eat pretty much everything and drink liquids.  As the months past, it became more difficult for her to chew and swallow.  Foods would have to be pureed or blended, and liquids were drunk with a straw.  Soon the straw was eliminated, and all liquids were thickened.  Thank goodness for the thickening products that are available for those who can't drink the liquids anymore!

Most of last year, mom's meals consisted of:
breakfast - a nutritional drink made into pudding, a bowl of oatmeal or cooked cereal, blended smooth, and some applesauce or pureed peaches added to that, and thickened cranberry juice
lunch - yogurt, applesauce, and another bowl of the thickened nutiritonal drink
supper - a bowl of the pudding, a bowl of pureed homemade soup, to which I would often add two cooked eggs

They were meager meals, but she ate them well and they sustained her well.

But as of the early part of December, what I am able to feed her are 2 bowls of the pudding (thickened nutritional drinks), thickened cranberry juice, yogurt and applesauce.  Not all of it can I always get into her either, the pudding is the priority because that contains the bulk of her calories and nutrition, as well as her meds dissolved into them.  Water is also added to the pudding to get them to the consistency for her to eat it.

For the past month it has been stressful, feeling like I am starving mom!  This has been a concern for sometime, but her blood work always showed she was getting enough nutrition.  But now, it is out of my control, key word here, control.  This is a condition that there is no control over, so there are areas that we try to have contol over to help us feel better!  Mom is now at the point where her body no longer needs so much food, and she doesn't want it either.

The other difficult thing is knowing this is an end of life situation, her time is coming to an end, and this eating change is proof of it.  Adapt, adjust, deal with it as best I can, continue to move forward.  I have been learning some new coping skills thanks to Denise Brown of caregiving.com, and have been using music therapy more intensly now, it is helping during supper when I feed her, and while she sitting in her bed. 

There may or may not be a Nourishment Part 3 to write about, we will have to see......

When is the time right to say “Good Bye” to a person who is dying? by Lori La Bey

When is the time right to say “Good Bye” to a person who is dying?
by Lori La Bey of Senior Lifestyle Trends    January 7, 2010 by Alzheimer's Speaks

http://alzheimersspeaks.wordpress.com/2010/01/07/when-is-the-time-right-to-say-good-bye-to-a-person-who-is-dying/#comment-341

This question was submitted by Donna who read the post “The Clock Never Ticks So Loudly As When Waiting For A Loved One To Pass”

Great question! here is my answer -

I look at it like this, and actually did this with my Father and have with my Mother, although my Mother is still alive and in her end stages. I started talking about it prior to the very end. Now not everyone reading will have this time and that is ok, because there is no right or wrong time to speak these words. It’s all about your perception of what will happen when you say the words. REMEMBER this, as it is critical!

For me, I told Dad and Mom many times that what I wanted, was for them to be pain free and happy. That I would be ok when they decide the time is right for them. That I would be there until the timing is right for them to pass. That I love them and always will no matter how far apart we may seem.

You see, I think many people, myself included think that saying “Good Bye” means they are going to go. They are going to die right then and there. In reality, we just don’t have that much control. I like you, have heard many times once you say good bye they depart, but there are just as many if not more who continue to live. Once you accept this life and death decision is not yours but theirs, the burden is lifted. You will feel lighter. The heaviness goes away. You can breathe normally again. It is God’s will. Whoever their God is. Whoever your God is.

Realizing this flips the whole situation. Now instead of feeling like you are, “Pulling the Plug on their life,” you are supporting their decision. This is HUGE! You are now in a state of true unconditional love, putting their needs and wants first. The guilt is lifted from you. Your words flow smoothly as they are come from love. But you might ask how will they know that?

Remember, like them we express ourselves through multiple ways or senses. Our tears as they fall upon them, our quivering voice as we speak the words, “It’s ok to let go. We will be all right,” our shaking hand or trembling bodies as hold them all communicate how difficult this is for us. They receive these communications through their senses and know your words come out of a deep, deep love and respect for them. Even if they seem non-responsive they will know.

As I write this post, tears are flowing from my eyes knowing I will have to feel the pain of my Mother passing some day, probably sooner than later. It never is easy, because we ache at our loss, but with our loss comes great peace for them. There is no better gift then loving unconditionally and putting your loved one first, and knowing you will make it through this journey one way or another. It is normal, it’s healthy, and not about to stop just because you can’t or won’t deal with it.

So your choice is to carry the burden of guilt thinking you control the situation of when they will die, or releasing your fears and guilt by embracing the possibility that there are higher powers at work and a peaceful place for us to go to rest at the end of our life’s journey.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

How to Support a Caregiving Spouse: Three Tips from My Other Caregiving Half by carolodell

I am very pleased to share this post by Carol O'Dell.  Author of Mothering Mother and More, be sure to check out her blog site at the link below!

How to Support a Caregiving Spouse: Three Tips from My Other Caregiving Half
January 18, 2010 by caroldodell
http://caroldodell.wordpress.com/2010/01/18/how-to-support-a-caregiving-spouse-three-tips-from-my-other-caregiving-half/


Maybe you’re not the one doing the day-to-day caregiving–maybe you’re the spouse, partner, the one who would get “best supporting” if there were an Oscar or some other shiny statue given for “Best Caregiving Award.”


Being the sidekick behind or rather beside the caregiver is a VERY important and crucial role. I know because I’m not sure I could have done what I did–care for my mom who had Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, heart disease and lived with us–if it hadn’t been for my other caregiving half.

My husband, (my caregiving spouse) had a lot to contend with. He put up with my moods–my many, many spontaneous, combustible moods. He put up with some doozy mother-daughter fights–fights between my mother and me and fights between my daughters and me. (I’m beginning to realize I was at the hub of all the fights!)

He went with the flow, would order pizza if I was too frazzled to cook (the man can’t cook), would run our daughters to wherever they needed to go–or stay with my mom so I could. He did without vacations, built my mom’s apartment onto our house, picked up my mom when she fell, and seemed to do it with a good attitude instead of a “I’m not getting attention” whine that wouldn’t have gotten him anywhere anyway. I had my hands full and he knew it.

So I decided for this blog to turn to ask my husband, Phillip, if he had a friend who said, “My wife’s mom is moving in and needs caregiving–how do I support her?” What would he say?

How to Support a Caregiving Spouse: (by a caregiving spouse)

Listen–a lot: If she needs to cry, hold her. If she needs to complain, give her the time and space to vent. Call her throughout the day. Turn off the television when she’s (I’m using the pronoun “she” but it goes either way) talking.

Lighten her load any way you can: Pick up extra chores. Pitch in. Get the kids to help, too. Look for things that need doing–don’t wait to be told.

Pay attention to your spouse’s needs: It’s your job to take care of her so she can take care of others. Notice if she’s tired and make her hot tea. Rub her feet, wash her hair, offer to mom-sit, do the little things only you can do. Consider it family care–not just something your spouse does.

Wow. It didn’t take him but three seconds to come up with that–because he lived it. He was right beside me all the way. I can honestly say that he was my backbone when I didn’t feel I had one. He wrapped me in his arms day after day after day. He did without sex, sleep, decent meals and even a pleasant wife–many times over. He never complained. He seemed to know what I need and he wouldn’t let me give up even when I wanted to–because he knew deep down, I didn’t want to. He was there when my mom died, and he was there in those dark and lost days after.

Caregiving is hard on a marriage/relationship at times, but it also brings out the best in us. We see what we’re made of–and in the end, we look back at our lives and remember all we’ve been through side-by-side.

Caregiving is one of our journeys. One of many.


At the bottom of this page there is a youtube video of Carol doing some seriously funny caregiving humor, don't miss it!

Alzheimer's: Does anyone really Care?

Alzheimer's: Does anyone really Care?

Doctors and Family Not Good at Detecting Alzheimer's and Dementia

Doctors and Family Not Good at Detecting Alzheimer's and Dementia

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Second Wind, by Vicky

Post by Vicky, http://www.blogcatalog.com/blog/josephina-josemeana-even-with-dementia-shes-still-my-mom

Monday, January 11, 2010
Second Wind
I went to my daughter's church last summer. The pastor taught about getting a second wind. He defined a second wind as an increased energy and strength after feeling tired and week. He said that God gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. He went on to say that sometimes God lets us rest. While we rest, we reflect and we worship Him. He lets us rest because what He has for us to do next will take all of our strength.
Before I got my mom from the nursing home I was rested. This is my second wind. I was feeling weary but I will not complain (anymore). The Lord is good to me, and he will give me strength. I know that I can take care of my mom. I am going to make it because I have made it in the past. Praise be to God!

Ten Tips for Communicating with a Person with Dementia

This article was posted on eons.com in the caregivers for elderly parents group.

We aren’t born knowing how to communicate with a person with dementia—but we can learn. Improving your communication skills will help make caregiving less stressful and will likely improve the quality of your relationship with your loved one. Good communication skills will also enhance your ability to handle the difficult behavior you may encounter as you care for a person with a dementing illness.



1. Set a positive mood for interaction. Your attitude and body language communicate your feelings and thoughts stronger than your words. Set a positive mood by speaking to your loved one in a pleasant and respectful manner. Use facial expressions, tone of voice and physical touch to help convey your message and show your feelings of affection.



2. Get the person’s attention. Limit distractions and noise—turn off the radio or TV, close the curtains or shut the door, or move to quieter surroundings. Before speaking, make sure you have her attention; address her by name, identify yourself by name and relation, and use nonver-bal cues and touch to help keep her focused. If she is seated, get down to her level and maintain eye contact.



3. State your message clearly. Use simple words and sentences. Speak slowly, distinctly and in a reassuring tone. Refrain from raising your voice higher or louder; instead, pitch your voice lower. If she doesn’t understand the first time, use the same wording to repeat your message or question. If she still doesn’t understand, wait a few minutes and rephrase the question. Use the names of people and places instead of pronouns or abbreviations.



4. Ask simple, answerable questions. Ask one question at a time; those with yes or no answers work best. Refrain from asking open-ended ques-tions or giving too many choices. For example, ask, “Would you like to wear your white shirt or your blue shirt?” Better still, show her the choices—visual prompts and cues also help clar-ify your question and can guide her response.



5. Listen with your ears, eyes and heart. Be patient in waiting for your loved one’s reply. If she is struggling for an answer, it’s okay to suggest words. Watch for nonverbal cues and body language, and respond appropriately. Always strive to listen for the meaning and feelings that underlie the words.



6. Break down activities into a series of steps. This makes many tasks much more manageable. You can encourage your loved one to do what he can, gently remind him of steps he tends to forget, and assist with steps he’s no longer able to accomplish on his own. Using visual cues, such as showing him with your hand where to place the dinner plate, can be very helpful.



7. When the going gets tough, distract and redirect. When your loved one becomes upset, try changing the subject or the environment. For example, ask him for help or suggest going for a walk. It is important to connect with the person on a feeling level, before you redirect. You might say, “I see you’re feeling sad—I’m sorry you’re upset. Let’s go get something to eat.”



8. Respond with affection and reassurance. People with dementia often feel confused, anxious and unsure of themselves. Further, they often get reality confused and may recall things that never really occurred. Avoid trying to convince them they are wrong. Stay focused on the feelings they are demonstrating (which are real) and respond with verbal and physical expressions of comfort, support and reassurance. Sometimes holding hands, touching, hugging and praise will get the person to respond when all else fails.



9. Remember the good old days. Remembering the past is often a soothing and affirming activity. Many people with dementia may not remember what happened 45 minutes ago, but they can clearly recall their lives 45 years earlier. Therefore, avoid asking questions that rely on short-term memory, such as asking the person what they had for lunch. Instead, try asking general questions about the person’s distant past—this information is more likely to be retained.



10. Maintain your sense of humor. Use humor whenever possible, though not at the person's expense. People with dementia tend to retain their social skills and are usually delighted to laugh along with you.



Have you used any of these or other methods that work?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Asking for Help is a Skill?

Asking for help is a skill?  Apparently it is, and one that I am not very skilled in, yet!
Recently we made a trip to TN, we were gone for 5 days. I had to put together a careteam to look after mom while we were gone. What a job that was, primarily because I didn't know how to ask others for help! I have read about it, discussed it with other caregivers in chats and forums, but this time it really hit home, I didn't know how to ask for help. I had to do some digging into myself and do some more reading and asking questions of others to get some answers!
There are several reason it is difficult for a caregiver to ask for help:
1.  They don't want to hear the N word.....no.
What is actually behind that word are these reasons:  I can't, I am busy; I can't do what you do; being by her/him makes me uncomfortable and so on.
2.  No one can take care of her/him the way you do.
Well, that is not a truthful statement, others can take care of her/him as well as you do, they just might do it differently then you.  You have to give up and let go and let someone else fill your shoes for awhile, even it they don't fill them like you think they should!
3.  You know how hard it is to do the things needed to be done and you don't want to "subject" a family member or friend to those things.  You don't want to be a "burden" to them.
They don't offer to help because?
Well one consideration when it comes to other siblings would be, for them to see the parent in this state, they are face to face with the possible reality of their future, or the fear that they may not have someone to take care of them if they need it....makes them very vulnerable, scared and mortal.
Not helping also produces guilt, guilt at not doing something, anything to assist...you would think that would help them to step up and help, but no, it will usually cause them to avoid helping even more.
Of course everyone has their own family situations to deal with, we caregivers understand that. 
I posted the question in a caregiver forum (http://mikegamble.websitetoolbox.com/)     Nov. last year, and the following are some of the comments that others shared.
Jane in MA 11/14/09
My sister's daughter and my sister's husband used to say, "If you need anything, let us know." But when I needed anything, like someone else to take my mother to an app't, they were not available. Even tho BIL did not work, they had their own lives and only visited my mother when it was convenient for them (about 4 times a year).. so I never even bothered to ask. I am not the type to ask for favors. But if someone wants to volunteer, I would accept.

Is it pride? Or stubbornness, or maybe we are afraid of being turned down? I know that in most cases, when someone says, 'if there is anything I can do, let me know" means very little. I want to be asked specifically,.. "How about I take your mother to the next appointment?". Or "How about I run some errands for her this week. I don't want to ask people for help and assign the chore! And I bet if I ever said, "Hey! Sure! How about you take my mother to the doctor on Friday!" I would be met with shock.
Judith 11/14/09
I am living with my father, who has dementia, my mother is a resident in the nursing home where i work.
I have a brother who takes my father in to see my mother every day on the days i work. (in the same facility where i work) On the days that i do work, i bring my father back home... so it's a one way trip for my brother.
On my days off, i am to bring him there (to see my mother ) and back home.
How much free time would i have for for myself on my days off when i do this?
I am not a thankless person here! but , something has to give here, to make it easier for me.
I have 3 brothers here, that live in the area, that have cars, that don't have jobs, I am trying to do this care giving as good as i can, as i am the DPOA.
I just had a call from one of my brothers, He will take my father in to see mother tomorrow. One day away from my place of employment.
Mary E. 11/15/09
I've been thinking of your question overnight.. I believe that it's almost a sociological behavior in which one particular adult child steps up to the plate (naiively - not realizing the implications) and becomes designated in other's minds as the one with the responsibility.. That one person then has - without realizing it - become the "parent" to the parent. The others - the siblings become like the aunt and uncle.

Now the aunt and uncle LOVE their elder just as much as the "parent" BUT they bear no responsibility - when asked if they'll help to do something so that the primary caregiver can go on a trip or go to a wedding or some such thing - they'll see if it's convenient for them.. They won't do it if it's not convenient. So the aunt and uncle have options, where the parent does not..

Yes, I've been through this. I wanted to go away for a week at the end of the summer. I had business obligations two hours from home where my mother lives next door to me. My sister hadn't come out for a couple of months and I took a chance and asked her if she "might" be happening to come that week I wanted to be away - and explained.. The answer was that she couldn't come - "too much was going on". You see, she had the option to say, "no" where I never do!! Yep, blame it on a sociological behavior - that's what I feel.
NGA 11/15/09
I think that we don't ask, mostly because we do not want to be turned down, which would add another emotional burden, at a time when we can not take any more, so the risk involved in asking for help is enormous for the caregiver.

Caregivers need to not only be physically strong, but have emotional hides as thick as tire treads. All you have to do is read the threads here to see that most get the same, sorry, loaded line "I have too much going on right now.," when a sibling is asked to help. Great, so now that you've asked and been dissed, you feel that your life is worth-less, your relationship with your sibling is likely ruined and you are still in the trench with your parent ALONE.


john 11/15/09
I think you listed some excellent reasons as to why people don't ask for help.
But I think the main reason is unless your paying for help, you're not going to get it.
As I mentioned earlier the lady next door when asking about my mother has said "if you need anything let me know"....she is very nice, but I really doubt there is anything behind those words. It is just something some people say because they need a follow up reply because they asked you how things are going.
I don't begrudge her, but I am smart enough to know it is just an expression.
People have their own lives and situations going on and if you ask and get no help it just makes it more obvious your on your own.




Mary E. 11/15/09
You know, I think that the other reason we don't want to take the 'risk" of asking for help as NGA says is that we feel that we are begging almost.. And asking or, if we're desperate, which so many times we are, it puts us in the position of "needing, hurting, suffering". We are not in the position of strength as those people are - who are in the position of being able to refuse. They become the strong ones and we are seen as weak.

I've even run into misunderstandings where my sister thinks that since I'm asking it means that I don't want to take care of my mother at all. She turns it around and says, "Mary, everyone KNOWS that you have done more than anyone - three times more than everyone." She thinks I feel musunderstood or underappreciated JUST because I might want a week's break..
Again, as I said, she turns it around (and not meanly, just cluelessly) to thinking that I'm trying to abandon, when all I want is a little help.. I come across as weak, she strong.. Yes, NGA I think it's true - it is a risk to us to ask, knowing we'll most likely be refuse and we do need a thick skin and all of the hardships we've been through have actually made us quite vulnerable and not thick skinned at all..

My husband believes that "they" - the non caregivers will not 'get it" because they won't listen or hear what we are saying. But I think that even listening won't teach them a thing - they have to experience it.


john  11/15/09
It is funny how many people will not extend themselves to someone who needs work.
Someone told me years ago and I believe it is true as many seeing being "unemployed" as something they can catch like a virus if they get too close.
So they avoid people who are out of work or don't get too involved in their situation for fear of "catching it".
It may sound strange, but it explains to me why so many unemployed people are left dangling in the wind.
I think the same could be said about caregiving....you need help...I have the power to grant you help or turn you down.


mary f 11/16/09
It's not hard to ask for help from relatives....it's wasted air. In the past few years, I've heard it all. "We'd love to have so-and-so with us but we're too busy." Then there's the sibling that lives in the area who doesn't help (doesn't even call) but is waiting for parent to die to get some money.

I haven't become cynical, just realistic. Maybe helpful families are in abundance and mine isn't one of them? Have become accustomed to handling things on my own. It's easier without interference.
We don't ask for alot, maybe a couple hours a week if even that. But there are a more ways to help a caregiver then just coming and sitting with the parent. The following is a list I found online.  I don't doubt there could be more items added to it.
1.  A night out with friends
2.  A ride to doctor appointments
3.  Someone to mow the lawn and shovel snow
4.  Dinner prepared
5.  Insurance forms filled out and filed
6.  A shoulder to cry on
7.  The house cleaned
8.  The shopping done
9.  Help with paying the bills
10.  A weekend away
11.  A regular home care aide
12.  Someone to ask how I am
13.  More information on available resources
14.  A neighbor or two I can call in an emergency
15.  Some quiet time alone at home
16.  A handyman
17.  A sitter for (my spouse/parent/child so I can go to......
18.  Understanding that we're the same people we used to be but our family's needs have changed
19.  Pick up prescriptions and other healthcare items
20.  Help with car repairs
This is a pretty good list of things that others could help caregivers with, each individual situation would determine what the caregiver had need of.
The difficult world of a caregiver doesn't need to be so difficult if only family, friends could get past the fears, phobias, indifferences, whatever it might be, and lend a hand.  Those that do, and do it with the right heart, will feel pretty good about themselves, and find a very thankful caregiver!
If you are a caregiver, is it difficult for you to ask a family member or friend for help?  Why do you think it is difficult?  What responses do you get if you ask?
"Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us every day." Sally Koch. Via @Rainer_Seiffert
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Monday, January 11, 2010

Define Caregiver, by Iris

A new friend Iris, and fellow caregiver wrote this amazing description of a caregiver, and she has allowed me to share it with all of you!

Caregiver's Window Seat   http://caregiverswindowseat.blogspot.com/


Anyone with an ounce of humility often scoffs when called a caregiver. "I am only doing what I am supposed to do," or "I love my (parent, child, spouse), so of course I'm going to do what I can" are the typical responses. So how does one know if he or she is a caregiver?


Definitions vary, but the common thread is, if you are caring for someone in some way, that aids in their well-being, you are a caregiver. Assistance may come from near or far, may be done in your home or the loved one's home, may be provided 24/7 or only on occasion.

Care usually involves helping a person with tasks that are typically done independently. Tasks can range from checking in by phone, running errands or shopping to cooking, cleaning, handling documents and bills, or aiding in day-to-day physical care needs. The amount of time and tasks done related to caregiving are as varied as each individual.

Caregivers vary in age depending on who they help. A child may actually take on the responsibility of seeing that a parent with mental illness, alcoholism or drug addiction receives necessary care. A parent may have to care for needs of a physically challenged child. An adult may check in on a neighbor regularly by carrying mail or a newspaper to the door. Others may care for an aging parent by ensuring the environment is safe and that the parent is cared for in his or her own home or some level of facility care.

Regardless of your caregiving status, take pride in knowing that you are not just doing what you are supposed to do. Accepting the title of "caregiver" doesn't mean you do something because you have to; you do it because you love the other person.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Squeezing The Most Out of the "Me Minutes"

Squeezing the most out of the "me minutes"
until it is time to start again....
watching the clock.....
30 mins left....
20 mins left....
10 mins left....
5 more mins.....
oh, I have to finish stirring her pudding....
hhmmm, think I will take a look at facebook one more time!
better see if I need to do some comments on my blog!
minutes going past "the time" now....
ok, go in and start again....
"Time to get up mom, sun is shining today"!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Chip Off Her Block

Tucking in mom tonight, I bent over the rail, looked into her eyes and told her it was a good thing she was a nurse' aide all those years at the hospital because it helped me to take care of her now. 

As she listened, the creases around her eyes softened as her blue eyes twinkled in silent acknowledgement of what I had said.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

It's That Most Wonderful Time of the Year?

It is after the holidays.  I have been trying for days to write about the holidays and how I was feeling but just could not get it out.  Just was not strong enough to do it, I had to let the emotions pass first.  The thing is they really don't go anywhere!  This is a new year, but the daily events are the same.  It is the holidays that evoke and intensify the already exisitng emotions that keep me prisoner. 

This week my husband has gone to see his mom in West Va.  She will be 90 next month and is showing the beginning stages of dementia.  Hopefully he can share some things with them about preparing for the days ahead.  Anyhow, the aloneness is more now, with him gone.  There will only be the hospice people coming.  The nurse and aid came yesterday, now not again until tomorrow and Fri.  I had all the boys over most of last week so I need a "time out" from that this week!
Back to my initial topic, the holidays.  The prevailing question or thought through Christmas and New Years has been, is this the last I will have with mom?  We thought 2008 was the last and she is still here.  The changes continue, the end is near, but she can still go on for sometime even in the state she is in. 

I have shared before that I did not decorate for this Christmas now past.  I do very extensive decorating for Christmas, it is a lot of work, but very enjoyable...my creative expressions.  But I knew I was not going to have a very good Christmas, because of thinking about this being mom's last, and other reasons too.  So I determined months ago, I was not going to decorate.  It made it easier for me to move on into the 'normal' days and continue in my routine without looking at every area of the front room all lit up and glittery.  It was hard not to decorate, because "creating" is also therapy for me, but this year it just was not something I wanted to invest my time, energy or emotions into.

I know that one thing that is affecting me is I haven't been able to get to church for awhile, for various reasons.  Church is my sanctuary, my social and fellowship time, very important, and I can tell when I haven't been there for awhile.  Hopefully this Sunday I can, if my husband is back from WVa.  Also the choir is supposed to start up again Monday night getting ready for the Easter Musical.  So, I will have some more "escape time" coming soon.

Easter....will this be mom's last Easter with us?  On Easter of 2006, we had gone to church, mom was here, we came home mom was gone.  She had fallen and actually thought to use her Lifeline button to summon help,  and we found her at the hospital.  We didn't leave her alone again after that, even though she was mobile with her walker, and had some independence yet.  She actually ended up getting a foot fracture in that fall, but that is a whole nother story covered in an earlier post.  So, Easter comes with it's own set of memories, that fall she took meant our lives and time took a fall too.

So, a wonderful time of the year, no, it wasn't, and this year hasn't started well either.  But there are many days ahead, so I can only hope some of them will be good!