This morning I skipped over the bad news sections of the newspaper on the front page and the local news. I don’t want to read about the impotent government’s inability to deal with finances or Gadhafi. I went straight to the Healthy Living section where I read three things that started my day off on a positive note.
First, my horoscope read, “You will smile and laugh your way to a good outcome.” All good.
Second, the feature headline in large bold print read, “GO EASIER ON YOURSELF,” as if it was a personal direct response to my blog from yesterday.
And finally, there is a “Tools for Caregivers” free event tonight at a nearby church where the topic will be “Facing Long-Term Care Decisions: Families through the Process.”
Yesterday after we ate the lunch I picked up to share with my parents, and after my dad retreated to his bed for an afternoon nap, I kept my mom company at the kitchen table. She is in the process of problem-solving the constantly changing care needs of my father and his declining physical abilities due, probably in large part, to Alzheimer’s. She has started working on converting Annie’s old room into a room with two twin-size beds that she and my dad can use. Last week we replaced the worn mattress from what used to be Annie’s hospital bed with a newer, more comfortable one so Dad will be able to use it. Mom has arranged to have some extraneous furniture removed by St. Vincent de Paul and then we will deliver a twin bed for her to use.
Dad has started slipping out of bed on occasion, and often is very disruptive to my mom’s sleep if he decides to remove the bed linens in the middle of the night, or positions himself diagonally across the bed, or any number of other things that sometimes occur in the dark wee hours of the morning. Mom sees the necessity of eventually moving Dad to a hospital bed for his own safety and her well-being.
Like so many other ways she’s had to adjust, Mom navigates through this emotion-fraught change of moving into separate beds into another bedroom with the same pragmatic matter-of-factness that she faced every day during the 51 years she took care of my developmentally disabled sister Annie. My mother is very strong. But my mother has also taken some pretty hard back-to-back blows with Annie’s death following on the heels of Dad’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s.
Yesterday we started researching power lift chairs for my dad. His life consists of a series of filling the basic needs of toileting, showering, and eating interspersed with long naps. He spends most of his “free” time in a recliner in the living room. Although he is able to walk with the aid of a walker, it is getting increasingly difficult for Mom to get him out of the recliner once he sits down in it.
Anyway, the whole point is that I know we are not alone with the issues of aging that my mom, my siblings and I are facing. If I have enough energy left at the end of the day, I think I’ll go learn about “Tools for Caregivers.”