ALZHEIMER’S, YOUR PARENTS AND THEIR CLOTHING
“Your blue eyes look so pretty when you wear this blouse, Hon.” Dad sweet-talks Mom as I wait on the phone.
“These clothes are fine.” replies Mom
“Honey, it’s laundry day. Time to give this outfit a bath,” Dad teases.
“I wore this to bed, so it’s already clean. Just leave me alone,” says Mom. I hear her footsteps, loud at first, then fading as she walks away.
“Dad? Are you there?,” I ask.
“Oh for goodness sake!,” Dad snaps. “The oatmeal is burning.” I hear the click of the stove dial and the clang of the pot. “Look, I’ve got to go,” Dad says.
“I love you Dad. Talk to you soon.”
I glance at the notes on my computer screen. Today I wanted to continue our conversation about visiting the local Adult Day Program with Mom. Three years of notes on just this subject stare back at me on the screen. Three years of phone calls with the Director, three years of planning.
Clearly, I need to put even more effort into finding a good time to have this conversation with Dad.
Does it require a lot of effort to find the right time for the important discussions you need to have with your Caregiver? When there are only so many opportunities to be with a Caregiver in person, the list of critical conversations grows.
The process of elimination helps. During meal preparation, meal time, and meal cleanup remember that your Caregiver is juggling chores and Caregiving, so they are twice as busy. Try to call afterward. Perhaps they take walks or naps every day. Respect that. Show your support and love for your Caregiver by putting effort into finding a good time for them to have the conversations that need to happen.
When can your Caregiver be present for a conversation?