Hi, my name is Laurie, I am 63 years old and TOTAL caregiver for my 90 year old husband Morty. My husband was diagnosed with Dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Five years ago.
At that time we decided to move to the Country across from our Daughter.
It was a wise move. As the weeks go by I find it increasingly more challenging .
THE AGRESSION increases by the day, the demands, the constant questioning, I realize he feels lost, so to make our journey a little easier, I continually tell him how much we all love him and how special he is. I also take him for a surprise ride and eat out or just get an ice cream or his favorite Vanilla Milkshake. I kid around to make him laugh, he loves it!
We really enjoy our Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren’s visits, 22 of them, such joy to our hearts. We enjoy watching the Birds and Squirrels from our back door.
we pray daily and know that our Lord keeps us and protects us as we journey through our last mile.
@LaurieY558009 Hi Laurie! It sounds like your husband - and your whole family - are lucky to have you! And so wonderful that you could move closer to family for support and to enjoy all of those grandchildren too!
I agree with your approach, that creating joy and noticing the inherent joy in caregiving is a crucial skill - for coping, for dealing with the ups and downs and difficult behaviors and the entire caregiving journey. I've found it perhaps the most important thing I learned over 35+ years of caregiving for my grandparents, my sister and my parents. My Dad just passed on less than 2 months ago, and he had Alzheimer's too.
I loved your reference to taking him out - do it for as long as you can. It was one of the best ways to distract my Dad and we would get ice cream or lemonade and a cake pop from Starbucks. Those memories are precious and I would give almost anything to still be doing that.
With dementia, people do, as you say, feel lost or scared or confused and anxious. Those emotions cause so many of the difficult behaviors. So I always focused on doing whatever made Daddy feel safe and loved. Lots of hugs and kisses and reassurances - exactly as you are doing. Bravo! It works. Daddy also got acupuncture which calmed him and Chinese herbal tea that helped immensely. I can honestly say I fully enjoyed being with Daddy no matter what. While it was stressful, it never felt like a burden to me. It sounds like you feel the same.
Thank you for posting, Laurie! It is nice to meet you and read your story. I think many of us can relate to the complexity of emotions that caregivers experience. Joy, frustration, uncertainty, accommodation, and silliness....sometimes all at once! Thank goodness for a sense of humor and for vanilla milkshakes (for my mom, it was McFlurries from McDonalds...something about her chemotherapy side effects made them the ONE thing she craved. So I hit the drive-through every single day).
Personal faith and finding joy in the little things can make all the difference in lightening the day's burdens. Love your sense of perspective on this, and how lucky all your grand- and great-grandchildren are to have you and learn from your example!
Please keep us posted on your caregiving story (challenges and blessings, both). Wishing you and yours all the best!
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