As we enter a new year I want to wish all of you who take care of a person with dementia, or have a loved one in that condition in a Nursing Home or other facility, or have just found out that your loved one has dementia and are overwhelmed, a year full of strength and power. Knowledge is power, so gather as much information as possible. Information from books and experts is good, but the actual experiences of people who are in the same boat or have just ended the long dark path of taking care of such a loved one, are invaluable. I was helped so much by caring people on this Board.
Saying Happy New Year is probably too ironic .. as your loved one progresses down the shadowy path, happiness seems a long way off. But if you can still laugh at the little odd things they do, and keep your sense of humor, that will be a huge advantage.
Arm yourselves with all the facts about Power of Attorney, Health Care options, financial matters, etc, so you won't be overwhelmed when your loved one needs residential care and you do not know what your options are. There are state medicaid programs which pay for the NH costs of an indigent person (often one who was making a good living all their lives but lost everything to getting care when this disease struck them) ... there are also insurance programs that cover long term care but you have to get into them when you are relatively young, otherwise they cost more than you can afford.
Remember that keeping a dementia patient in your own home or moving into theirs may seem the best and most loving thing to do, but may not be. My mother was happier in the nursing home than when at home with a home health aide during my working hours and with myself all night and weekends. Life in the NH was more interesting and there was not so much conflict because they knew how to deal with dementia, and because they were not exhausted by 24 hour days of care.
It seems overwhelming when you first get the diagnosis, but you learn little by little how to cope. This group helps a lot: a group that you actually meet and talk to in person must be great. I was unable to go to such a meeting because all my free time was spent caring for Mom.
So maybe no Happy New Year as we slide into 2009, but a year of strength and power, faith in yourself and God, and doing the best you can. That is my wish for all of you.
Martha your post was very beautiful. I don't have a loved one with dementia, but my mom is 78, and still pretty sharp. My dad had parkinsons and he suffered from dementia toward the end, and probably some of it was from the drugs he was taking. I have nowhere near the firsthand knowledge that you or the other members of this board have, but I wanted to tell you how much I value reading your posts. You are a truly special person with a heart of gold who cares very much for others. That comes thru with every post you make. Your support means so much to so many people. I wish you and all the members of this board, who are going through tough and trying times, love, courage and strength in the new year.
Martha, thanks and all the best to you, and to all caregivers, family and friends who are touched by a dear one affected by AZ or Dementia and may I extend my wishes to all those who have this dreaded disease and need our prayers and encouragement .
Wise words for a wise lady Martha. Thank you and know we wish the same for you. The strength and courage to make 2009 an even better year for you. Thank you for hanging around and giving us your time and experiences to help us along our way. You are such an amazing lady...
I wish for each of you the very best life has to offer you and whatever it takes to tackle what it does thrown your way. You are all the best!!
I'm sitting here waiting for the new year. My dear husband said he would stay awake until 12........not going to happen. He's asleep on the couch. He retired today. Took an early out. I'm so glad for him. Now he'll do a little rehabing houses when the mood hits him. Or not. We decided to stay in tonight. We had some good steaks and wine. I'm just too tired these days. I like being here at home.
I just thought when this day came we would be ready to travel and do our own thing for awhile. I don't want to travel now because of Mom. Short trips maybe.
I should be looking forward to the new year and I am but.... Mom is going to get worse and I truly don't know what my next step should be. But thanks to you great friends here I won't have to do this alone. Thanks for all of the kind words and wonderful thoughts. I was feeling a little down and I got online and there you were. It helps so much to read your wonderful uplifting posts. I wish you all a better year in 2009. May God help us all who are living with this horrid disease and those who have lived through it.
Thank you dear Martha.
Love to all,
On New Years Eve while I was outside shoveling the driveway. We up here in New England had a little New Years Eve snow storm. I was thinking about the year ahead. I felt a little down because I knew for Mom it meant a couple of things:
1. She is going to progress worse with alz/dementia.
2. Will she even be here next year at this time? Will
she even be here 6 months from now?
Then mentally as I continued to shovel I told myself just forge ahead and do what you did last year continue to to be strong. I know this year will be a little easier as this year I have all the wonderful people on this board to come to. I have the opportunity to read and learn and educate myself from everyone. I have the opportunity to vent and let out my frustrations. I didn't have that last year at this time as I found this board in August. So that alone makes me feel comfort. Knowing that If I needed to I could come to this board and write and say anything on my mind and I would receive only support and comfort from all of you.
Strength and Courage to all as we move ahead into the New Year
caring.... Yep that smack in the back of the head is the best part. Stand up all you wonderful people. Believe in yourself, know what you want, and go for it. Refuse to be treated with anything less than respect..... and most importantly, be kind to yourself.
I have a couple of knots from Ibake and Martha that I wear proudly!!! hehe
Thank you, Martha, and ALL you regulars, for the words of encouragement and wisdom you've given me. Thanks to you wonderful ladies, things are going far better than I ever even hoped for with my MIL. I do hit the wall every now and then, but I grab my towels and hang on. So far, I haven't gotten to the point of wanting to tear them in strips to hang myself!
I could never have reached this point without you! I would be going absolutely crazy and would probably have given up by now. Instead, I even have days when I have quite a love for this lady who didn't treat me very well when she didn't have Alzheimer's. She understands now that she has this disease, and she's aware enough to understand that we've taken her in because of that and are committed to taking care of her for as long as we can. And she actually appreciates it, and expresses that! She seems happier now that she knows she has this disease. She gets annoyed when I remind her of things, usually related to hygiene (finish the job and then wash your hands, but in more graphic terms), but she's actually trying and is very proud of herself when she remembers all by herself. It's the support here that has helped me to have the sensitivity and understanding of her electrical wiring to have the patience to continue with her day to day. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
And thank you, Administrators, too, as another poster said, for making the board available to us. It has touched and changed many, many lives for the better!
We all hit that wall from time to time Emily. It is on those days that I am so very thankful for all of you.
Right now life is good here. Mom is relatively happy and working on a jigsaw puzzle. She has been at it for almost a week and so far has not gotten the outside pieces together but with no time frame she is ok with it and it goes her something to do. Besides she can blame the slow progress on the puzzle. I talked to Mom this morning and had a hard time containing my excitement. She worked for years with Guardian AdLium helping abused children. There was one particular child, from a horrible home situation, that Mom became very close to. She lives in another state now but has kept in contact with Mom. I had called her not long after Mom moved to AL to let her know where Mom was. I got a call yesterday. This abused child that has grown into a wonderful young lady, with the help of Mom, is going to visit with Mom this afternoon. I didn't want to spill the secret but wanted to make sure Mom was in a good mood.... and she is. It just makes me smile to know that the two of them will be together this afternoon.....
Just a side note. this story just goes to show that you never know how you touch a life or what you do for another. Sometimes God doesn't let you relish in the accolades but later you find out how well you did.
There is a web link that I get emails from occasionally. They run inspirational messages and videos and offer things like Ribbons that you are suppose to hand to people when you see them doing something good for another. Those ribbons say "I make a difference!"
In those video's there's one called "are you an red F person". In it, it was primarily about a teacher who used a red pen to mark up all the children's papers. But she changed the color to another such as blue and found that the kids did much better academically. It seems that 'red' is associated with being a failure. If another child saw one person's paper all marked up in 'red', they tended to start to ostrasize (sp?) that child making the child feel even worse.
another story was of a teacher who bothered to look deeper into a child that seemed not to be doing well, only to learn that his mother has passed away. She chose to help and spend more time with this child, ultimately the story was at Christmas she got a used bottle of perfume and a braclet with some gems missing. All the kids in class laughed when he gave his presents to her, but she immediately made a big deal about the beauty of the braclet and put a dab of perfume behind her ears.
Over the years, she always got letters from Teddy Stoddard and many years later was invited to sit as a parent during his wedding ceremony, he had become a doctor. After the ceremony he came to her and thanked her for being a great teacher to him and told her how much the time she spent with him meant to him. He even told her that when she wore that perfume that day, it made him feel like his mother was there once again.
So as I said, I live my days like this, reaching out to those i can help, always letting my kids bring anyone home who may be in need, run interference between parents and children who can't communicate with each other well, etc. You never know when what you do, really turns things around for another. Jesus never did his stuff to gain recognition, neither do I, nor did your mother apparently. That is truly a testimony to who your mother was and as her daughter, you are probably a terrific lady yourself
Thank you caring. Yes, my Mom did so much for so many. I just hope I can do the same....... If I can help one child (even my own) grow up to be a responsible adult or helped one person get over a rough spot, then I have done good
I have two great adult children. and you know what. Even though they were 20 and 17 1/2 when they loss their Dad, i don't let them jerk me around out of guilt.
I know they loss their Dad, but there are other children who lose 1 parent or both. I had rules when their Dad was alive and those rules haven't changed. When they threatened to move out, I showed them I wasn't scared of being alone, I packed their stuff and told them don't let the door hit them in the ***.
My kids aren't bad, don't get me wrong. My husband use to think I was too hard in my beliefs or feelings; I just wouldn't let them use derogatory(sp?) words to define people such as 'stupid, retard, idiot, dumb, whatever) Friends and family have told me I should kiss the ground they walk on because they've never given me a true moment of grief. I said, you know why? because I wouldn't take it.
I am not my kids friends, of that they have plenty. I am a parent. I am a role-model. My kids have empathy for others because they see I'll stop anything to help anyone. I just tell them don't ever lie to me and I'll be there shoulder to shoulder with them through anything.
yes, I have great kids but its because I was a great person as well. I didn't confuse them with changing rules or expectations. I don't feel I owe them a college education; they are both paying their tuitions themselves with no student loans or anything -- it makes them appreciate it more I feel.
I just provide the 'needs'; food, shelter and clothing (only now they do that themselves), they always came up with ways to pay for the 'i want. . ." while my husband and I paid for the I need. There was no allowance either, no one paid me for what I did.
We paid them upon their report cards. A certain amount for first honors (big money for the 1st time they do this then $25 for each time after that), $15 for second honors and $10. for merit recognition. They had to give us money for their failures.
When they turned 18, they were called by me, taken to the bank and immediately their childhood savings account was split to give them a savings as well as their first checking account. I showed them how to reconcile it and that was it. My job is done. I got them a life insurance policy that they can borrow against as they get older.
I explained that their father and I provided them the foundation for them to use to build their house of their future. What they do with their life is all on them. and so far both are in college, aspiring to be teachers. Son - high school history with a dual certification in special ed; daughter - pre-school through 4th grade is her desire.
at the age they are now 24 and 21, they still call me to tell me where they are, what they're doing and to tell me what they're going to do. I give them that space and that respect. If they didn't call, I'd pull their cell phones ha ha. I also have title to their cars, so if they really *** up, I wouldn't hesitate to pull that too. But once they graduate college, I'd turn their cars over to their name. For now, its a bargaining tool I never had to use.
Last edited by caringsister54; 01-03-2009 at 02:57 PM.