Hi all! I trust you had a nice weekend! I also hope you are off to a roaring start in 2020 in service and love for humanity and, in our context, service specifically for folks suffering around the dementia dumpster fire with us. If you have a loved one and are struggling to visit them, resolve in 2020 to dip your toe in the water soon this year. It is never too late. Please don’t feel guilty…just do it. It gets easier! You and they will benefit. 🙂
I had a really nice weekend although my sleep patterns continue to be severely out of whack (or at least quite low of whack…so much so that I keep a plastic gallon-sized can of whack nearby in case I run out ). I have always had a busy mind, if you will, but mom’s condition along with the everyday stresses of a job and a family and thousands of miles of driving monthly prevent me from shutting down my brain at night as well as I should be able to.
One thought for you and for me…avoid digital sundowners. Regular sundowners is the condition folks with dementia often struggle with that involves wandering all night and sleeping off and on all day. This could be caused by so many things that I would never be able to list them, but what comes to mind are two things: 1. Forgetting which time is for sleeping and getting in a messed up habit. 2. Having a busy mind that cannot deal with the quiet of night well enough to unplug, preferring a louder and brighter time to try to sleep as a welcome distraction. Mom had sundowners for at least 6 months off and on in 2019. Early in her stay in memory unit care she paced relentlessly from 8pm until morning many, many days. She would carry a pillow case full of “her stuff” while she did it, perhaps thinking she would go home soon or possibly out of fear of losing it. Those first several months of care were extremely hard for he (and for us).
This definition brings me to my original thought. We need to fight digital sundowners in our caregiving. That is what I am calling the self-imposed mental wandering all night, most notably on social media and even, perhaps, nibbling some at the Digital Cornbread table. While I love that the site and posts are always available to you, please don’t let my site or any site distract you from your sleep. Keep your room electronics free as best you can and take care of yourself.
Why do I bring this up? Poor sleep habits have been examined closely as a possible piece of the puzzle of how people get dementia. I expect that, since a brain kind of “washes itself” at night during sleep cycles, there may be something to this. A second reason is we can’t be the best we can be in helping folks if we don’t take care of ourselves. SeniorAge has a great class for caregiver self-care called Stress Busting. Here is a link to more info. Self-care isn’t optional. I am flying for business very soon. The flight attendants will remind me, yet again, that in the event of a cabin pressure problem I need to put my oxygen mask on first before helping my kids. This is because if we pass out, they will have a harder time. Please take care of yourself and I will try harder myself as well. I care for each of you and know your struggle, at least to a measure.
Thank you for visiting the table today. Again, may God bless your 2020!
Update: We had a great visit with mom this weekend. It is a rare day when all three of us could see her in the same day, and it was a blessing. She is much more capable of handling the busted routine of a larger visit now than she was last year at this time. I suppose that is a small silver lining of being in late-stage hospice care. She was happy and is, by most measures, doing decently these days. Thank you all!
Links for further study: