This is a thoughtful and honest essay on the elderly and dying.
I saw this simple, but delicious looking dessert and thought ‘Oh yum!’. I plan on trying it out soon.
I have seen first hand the positive responses a dog or cat can provide to lonely seniors. So much more so when that senior has dementia. These animals offer unconditional love and affection. They listen without judgement. They are a friend. I have seen faces light up with delight and normally non-verbal seniors start chattering away.
The downside is that these pets have to be cared for and that care is often beyond the ability of the senior (especially with dementia) and would be an extra burden for a caregiver who’s already got too much to do.
Enter toy maker Hasbro, who has made realistic dog and cat robot pets. They respond and feel like a real animal without any of the usual care needed. I think they’re a brilliant idea and may be just what the doctor ordered!
I’ve seen reports of this sort of a group from all around the world. For many seniors there isn’t much or any family around to help support them as they age, still too young to need nursing care but not quite able to handle the strain of house upkeep. Here’s a group of women in Britain who’ve banded together to form an Older Women’s Housing Co-op:
Have you ever gone to leave the house and searched forever to find your car keys? Yup! Happens to all of us, we place something in a specific place and then later when we go to find it we cannot find it.
Normally, for most of us this happens on occasion but for someone with dementia this may be an everyday occurrence, possibly multiple times a day. When we go to help a family member with dementia in their home it is often to help them find these missing items, which are often right out in the open or in the most obscure location imaginable.
Sometimes when our loved one with dementia misplaces something they will start accusing people of stealing from them. Family members or complete strangers are all potential suspects and these accusations can be emotionally very painful. As painful as it may be to have your loved one accuse you of stealing from them may be it is important to keep in mind that it isn’t really THEM making the accusation, it is the DISEASE.
Dementia destroys the brain and especially in the beginning it destroys not only memory but also the ability for rational thought and logic. So when they can’t find something they want (memory problem) and they know they didn’t do anything with it (again memory problem) then it is obvious that someone stole it even if no one has been in their home (logic problem) and if you happen to come into their field of vision or thought then you are the guilty party (rational thought problem). This is all symptoms of the disease, the same as a rash is a symptom of an allergic reaction.
The best thing you can do during these times is to reassure your loved one that you will help them find whatever they are looking for, and don’t blame them for anything. You will need a lot of patience, love, understanding and patience. (Yes, I did put patience twice.)
Check in often, I will post more about patience and loving while caring for a family member with dementia.
This wonderfully touching story happened here locally. A dementia patient who was reverting back to his time in Vietnam with the Air Force – he thought he needed to report back to duty and nothing the family or staff told him helped.
So a plea was put out on social media for a hail mary pass, was there someone who could show up in uniform to let him know his service was over?
Read here for the outcome of the hail mary pass: The war is over
I’ve missed a couple of weeks … I took a little vacation to get my head mellow again. Caregiving is a stressful job and one that I’ve been involved with at some level for 14 years and full time for the past 8 … my last break was 3 years ago. I had a lot of fun in the Puget Sound area of Washington State that included going out for an 8 hour whale watching tour in and around the San Juan Islands. Eight glorious hours in my ultimate happy place … on the water – bring on the chop!
Since returning to work from my vacation whenever I start feeling stressed I just picture myself out on the waters of the Puget Sound … feeling the breeze and the spray of water breaking across the bow of the boat.
So, I’m back at it and ready to get back into the swing of things.