Hobbies change due to Alzheimer’s

ALZHEIMER’S, YOUR PARENTS AND THEIR HOBBIES


“How about I turn on the television for you while Dad and I make dinner?” I ask Mom.  “Maybe there’s a talk show on.”

“No good,” Dad says, poking his head into the sunroom.  “Turn on her music.”

I come to Mom’s defense.  “Come on, Dad. Mom really likes TV. Just this once.”

“Not lately.  Push play on the boom box.”

The intro to “Danny Boy” lilts from the speakers.  Mom’s smile beams. Humming along, she reaches down for her yarn and crochet needle to resume work on another granny square.

I watch in a bit of disbelief. “Dad, when did this happen?”

“Just recently,” he tells me. “Whenever I turn on the TV, she gets up and walks out of the room.  Music makes her happy now.  Just look.”

Mom is rocking back and forth in time to the music, laughing out loud to the song’s lyrical jokes.

In that moment, I pause and say a silent prayer of thanks for the gentle reminder that, even on my best day, I am merely the “Assistant to the Caregiver.” Indeed, the name of this long-running show is Caregiver Knows Best.

Who knows, if I’m smart and persistent, maybe one day I will be promoted to “Advisor to the Caregiver.” But until that day comes, Dad will truly be the resident expert on Mom.

Have you caught yourself stepping in to fill an Alzheimer’s Caregiver role that rightfully belongs to someone else?  Pretty easy to do, right?  How was it received?  If you were in the Caregiver’s shoes, how would you feel?

 

When your Loved One needs more care than they get at home

ALZHEIMER’S, YOUR PARENTS AND THEIR DECISIONS


“How did your annual physical go, Dad?”

“Dr. T. says I lost 50 pounds.”

I take a deep breath.  “Since last year?” I ask.

“Yes.”

Fifty pounds?  Dad was already skinny.  Did he even have that much weight to spare?  That’s why his belt was cinched so tight last time I saw him.

Refocusing on the conversation, I dig deeper.  “And what did Dr. T. say about that?

“He said that I need to make a change,” Dad explains.  “He says that it’s my responsibility to care for Mom, and that I can only do that if I take care of myself first.”

 I take a deep breath in.  “So what are you thinking?”

 “It’s time to look for a Memory Care Facility for your Mom.”

I exhale. 

After all these years. After all my other-than-perfect efforts to support my Dad – I have finally learned a few things.  I learned that ultimately, Dad will make all the decisions about Mom’s care himself.  I learned that there are better uses of my energy than trying to speed Dad toward a decision before he was ready.  My opportunity was to grow my patience and my compassion, as I learned to work on Dad’s timeline. 

Has your Alzheimer’s Caregiver finally agreed to accept help with caring for your Alzheimer’s Loved One?   If not, what role can you play in encouraging this, without forcing their hand?  By letting the Alzheimer’s Caregiver arrive to this conclusion on their own time, you may find that you will have grown in your own unique ways, too.