Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment. –Matthew 9:22
Just a quick point or two today (Note: this is something I sometimes say right before ripping off a 5,000 word diatribe…but not this time. 😉 )
I was just thinking about the days after big events in life and how important the “lesser days” are. Two specific events come to mind: right after a home visit and the time after a loved one passes away.
Right after a visit– Disclaimer- DO NOT let this be a discouragement to visit, whether it be in a nursing home/memory unit, an assisted living facility, or a home. Your visit is worth every single thing I will mention here. That being said, know that the next day or two in particular may be a challenge for your loved ones. When you visit, unless it is a routine, it will disrupt their existing routine for a bit. I have written dozens of times of the importance of routine. Here are a couple examples: Article Article. Routine can be a rut, but it can also be a gentle guide for a broken mind. Planning and scheduling is one of the earliest things to go for a newly diagnosed/symptomatic loved one and anything you can do to make this easier is helpful in fighting the anxiety that accompanies the disease. So, we have a tension between the need and desire to visit and the inevitable challenge it can be when you leave. When you visit, try hard to leave with something helpful for the caregivers. Don’t ask the generic “Is there anything I can do?” because often nothing will come to mind. Offer some suggestions for things you can do and build in time to do them. “Can I grab you a
Big Mac healthy sandwich and a milkshake kale smoothie? (Ok…treats in moderation are fine…sorry.) Or “Can I mow your yard?” or “Would you like to take a walk or go to the store before I go?”. If anything that can be proposed will help with the next few days, choose those things. They will get back in routine by then, hopefully.
After a loved one passes away– At the funeral and for a bit after, people are often lined up with casseroles and hugs and a shoulder to cry on. However, time marches on and those niceties vanish like the clouds from my cool mist humidifier that I keep by my bed. Remember holidays. Remember birthdays. Remember little things…and call/visit the one who is likely still mourning. Note: This one is a “do as I say, not as I (always) do” tip…I am still working on me…but it is wise nevertheless. I know many, many who would agree…
These are some challenging thoughts…and, like many aspects of dementia, there are few easy answers…but they are worth your consideration, especially if you are fortunate to have your Covid Shawshank Re:Dementia restrictions lifted. Keep your head up, never stop advocating for your loved one and never stop fighting for a cure.
Update: Mom was about the same yesterday. She was a little more alert and said a word or two, which is a pleasant surprise every time. We respond in a matter of fact way so she doesn’t feel insulted or hurt by our lack of understanding. She is still having aspirating food issues and her lungs have times of congestion because of that, so she is on antibiotics for a while. Pnemonia caused by this aspirating of food and drink is a leading cause of death in folks with dementia, so we treat it very seriously.
Walk to End Alzheimer’s is this weekend:
I was fortunate to get a quick spot on KOLR10 TV yesterday. Here is that piece:
If you can join, in-person or virtually, and/or donate, it would be super awesome. 🙂 Our little team has raised a bit over $900 on a $1000 goal. We will get there. 🙂