Caring Makes a Difference
When a person has dementia, it means they are losing memories, not feelings. One of my favorite quotes from Maya Angelou is,
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
The old question about trees falling in forests, and whether or not they make a sound may still be up for debate. But I do know that a person would have to connect the sound heard to the tree falling in order to understand what happened. I discovered that my Mama also benefited more from our time together when I followed a few simple rules of engagement.
And…..we’re back. In Part One, our focus was on ‘Looking for Joy’ and ‘Celebrating victories’ – always remembering to smile big. In this next part, we will discuss a few strategies that can go with you further down the path and help in your quest to finish well.
In our family we had a saying, “We’re doing the best we can, and so is Mama.”. It was something we repeated frequently to each other throughout my Mama’s journey through dementia. Mama’s care was a family affair. It took my husband, my sister and I all working together in order to navigate the shoals of this difficult journey called dementia.
Once friends or loved-ones begin their journey down the path of dementia, gift giving becomes much more difficult. Previous interests change or fall away. Abilities diminish, concentration and focus shorten as senses dull. Warm socks, stretchy pants and button-up tops may make dressing easier, but finding something your loved one would enjoy can also make…
As we move closer to the end of the year, take a moment to consider and celebrate the contribution of friends and family members who care for loved-ones – not by a pat on the back, but in concrete ways. Family Caregivers are certainly heroes, but not ‘Superhero’s (meaning they can go on endlessly and never tire).
Remember, you can’t do it all whether you are the caregiver or friend. Sometimes the best help may be a welcome visit that provides a temporary distraction.
Remember, at the end of the day, we can only do what we can do to make a home a safe place for our loved one. My sister and I would tell each other all the time, “We’re doing the best we can, and so is Mama.”
The important thing here is to keep your loved one as active and social as possible while continuing to treat them with dignity and honor.
It is up to us to keep our loved ones as safe as we can from those who would try to prey on their emotions through sales pitches.