This is the first in a series of posts I plan to do in which I want to share what it’s like living with an Alzheimer’s family member. Perhaps I am doing this because I’m looking for a therapeutic outlet.
Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s is a 24/7 a day job. You don’t get a vacation. The weekends are not your own. You cannot spontaneously go to a movie. Even planning a trip to the grocery store requires that someone is always caring for your loved on. You are on the clock with no relief in sight.
In this post, I want to focus on the communication aspect of talking to your loved one. For a toddler, teenager and adult, if you have a stomach ache you know how to convey that message. For an Alzheimer’s patient who is easily confused, a simple question becomes a foreign language. There are times that nothing makes any sense. You instantly revert back to caring for an infant and try to guess what’s wrong.
I’ve learned that simple questions work the best. Short sentences are a must. Forget any big word you just read from your daily email from Webster’s. They don’t work.
At times, I am embarrassed to admit, I find my self yelling. It’s those times, that my husband steps in and settles me down and takes over. When my husband is at his last straw, I try to do the same for him. Anything to break the tension. We both are learning not to criticize and praying for patience everyday. However, when she asks ‘Who is that baby?” every single day, we feel as though we want to pull our hair out.
Thank goodness for Respite Thursday. Budgets cuts have reduced our hours from 22 a month to 8, but we try to make the most of this time away.
If I learned anything from this experience it is that patience is the utmost virtue. Lord, I need a million times more of it!
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