Mother’s Day Joy

“A-ha!” Mom exclaims as she gives the Mylar smiley-face balloon a poke. Back it floats, as she lets out a triumphant chuckle.

Up he comes again. “Umph!” she says, poking him away.  She shakes her head and grins as Smiley floats back into her reach.

Dad is sitting across from us.  His smile is the biggest I’ve seen in years. 

“Take that!” Mom gives Smiley another playful poke. Her grin erupts into a smile as he returns, as if asking her to keep the game going.

By now, Dad is laughing out loud.  Mom obliges him, and for his amusement she keeps Smiley dancing.

I hand Dad my phone and give him a brief camera lesson.  He fiddles with it, while Mom and I give Smiley a real workout.

Click.

I exhale and smile.  Today, this one time,  I chose the perfect Mother’s Day gift.  Perfect for my Mom.  Perfect for how she is today. Perfect for Mom’s first Mother’s Day in the Memory Cottage.

I find myself feeling thankful for creating this moment of joy for all of us.  I lean in and give Mom a kiss.

Click.

Life with an Alzheimer’s Loved One brings so many moments.  When you are blessed with a great one, try to remember to pause, notice and give thanks.

If you are struggling for a gift idea for your Alzheimer’s Loved One, consider bringing something playful and fun.  A good laugh can work miracles.   Creating Moments of Joy for the Person with Alzheimer’s or Dementia by Jolene Brackey is super resource for ideas.

Invite visitors two at a time

YOUR PARENTS, THEIR ALZHEIMER’S AND THEIR FRIENDS


“We had a great day yesterday.”

I can literally hear Dad’s smile over the telephone.

 “Kay and Jo came over,” he continued. “Kay visited with Mom.  They laughed and laughed.”

“And Jo?” I ask.

“Jo and I worked in my office, getting the prescription refills figured out.”

This last comment pokes at my curiosity. “What was up with the refills?”

“Oh nothing,” he replies.  “I just have so many bottles of some of these medicines in the closet.  I mean, why on earth would I need three months of Omeprazole at one time?  That’s nuts.  Anyway, Jo talked to the pharmacy and helped me get it all straightened out.”

“Well,” I begin, intending to explain (yet again) the 90-day refill policy used by today’s mail-order pharmacies.  Then I stop myself for a breath.  I remind myself that Dad sounds happy.  Relieved.  Calm.

I change directions. “So is there anything else I can do to help with that?”

“Nope, we’re all set now.  Oh, and best of all, they brought lunch and even left me with some dinners for the week!”

Mom and Dad’s friends are both nurses.  They have a lot of history with my parents, and a lot of experience helping people traverse the Alzheimer’s journey.  This was another chance for me to watch and learn from their expertise.  To witness how two strategic visitors at one time can “divide and conquer,” providing an opportunity for the Alzheimer’s Caregiver to get something else important done.

Have you tried the “two-on-two match-up” approach to create some uniquely powerful support for both your Alzheimer’s Loved One and the Alzheimer’s Caregiver?  If not, who in their life (or yours) could you recruit onto this all-important special team?

Your Caregiver needs to go to school

ALZHEIMER’S, YOUR PARENTS AND THEIR CAREGIVER EDUCATION


“Mom did really well while I was at Caregiver College last night,” Dad says proudly to me into the phone.

“Oh, that’s right,” I reply. “Your first class!  Did Mom go with you?”

“Better than that,” Dad answers. “You remember our friends Kay and Johanna?  Well, they really helped me out.  Kay stayed with Mom at the house, and Jo and I went to class together.”

“And how did Mom do with Kay?”

“She did great.  They played Rummikub, drank coffee, and sang together. Mom and Kay have always gotten along well.”

With a little trepidation, I dig deeper. “And how did class go for you and Jo?”

“There was a lot of information.  A lot of paper,” Dad says, revealing some underlying anxiety.  “Plus I was worried about your Mom.”

“Sounds like it took a lot of effort to concentrate on the class, Dad.”

“Yes. Lucky for me, Jo took all of the handouts home with her.  She is going to summarize them and mail me her notes.  You know, so I remember what I need to do.”

“Dad, you are blessed to have such good friends,” I say. (And I think to myself: so are we.)

Thank you, good Lord, for sending these dear friends to love and support both of my parents.

Often, friends want to help but have yet to know how.  Here’s a suggestion.  Encourage them to help make it possible for your Alzheimer’s Caregiver to attend caregiver education classes.  Caregiver education is critical for the Alzheimer’s Caregiver because this disease affects so many aspects of their Loved One’s life.  Caregiver classes present an opportunity for Caregivers to learn, accept and prepare for a future where their Loved One’s thinking, decision making, memory, emotions, hygiene, physical health, safety and more will be disrupted by this disease.

Can you encourage or enlist your parent’s friends to support the Alzheimer’s Caregiver in your life, as he or she prepares for the Alzheimer’s caregiving journey?