Is It Time for a Care Facility?

 

That’s the Constant Question

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When you are fortunate enough to be able to care for your Loved One Living with Alzheimer’s at home ….. There is a constant question looming over your head. How will you know when it’s time to place your loved one in a facility? This is a very sensitive question for most people and the answer does not come easily. My family needed to face that question about a year and a half into caring for Gram at home.

In the beginning, we had several family members and some trusted people from the community to help Gram stay at home. Gram had a sum of money in the bank and we were able to secure a grant from the county and state to help pay them. Acquiring that grant is a whole other story. In-home care is expensive, especially when supervision is required 24/7. Of course, then there’s the challenge of maintaining a caregiving schedule and balancing our own jobs and families. At first, it was an exciting challenge that we met head-on. Then the excitement wore off and we were just left with challenges. Do not get me wrong, I feel blessed to have been able to spend that time with my Gram. But it was not an easy task.

An abundant array of choice words.

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Gram didn’t like a couple of the caregivers and she did not hide her dislike for them. There was many an occasion that she had an abundant array of choice words for her family too. My thought is that it comes with the territory. Being her granddaughter….. I felt I could approach the situation a little differently than I would if I were a nonrelated caregiver by being assertive and straightforward. My Gram referred to me as the “Bossy Redheaded B*tch”. Which to this day I proudly shoulder with a smile. Others were not able to separate the nasty name-calling and meanness from the Gram we knew. So, our help became scarce and volunteers were not knocking down our doors to expose themselves to this side of our beloved Gram. A very wonderful handful of caregivers did stick around and became “family”.

Wonderful handful of caregivers

Eventually, money became tight and the caregivers who choose to be private pay had to take a pay cut. Our family began to cover more shifts. Also, the county and state grant payee company lost their contract and we were faced with a several weeks delay of payment for the hours allotted for our loyal caregivers. It seemed as though this whole thing was falling apart. Our family began silently holding in grudges. Then the silence was broken and feelings got hurt. We began looking for facilities. I will leave this struggle for another story.

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So for Gram’s family, the decision came down to finances. Looking back, there are quite a few things we should have done differently. But we were new to this struggle and did the best we could do at that time. There are no magical keys to this aspect of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or Dementia. Other families face this decision under different circumstances. Some may be confronted by the primary caregiver becoming ill or emotional exhaustion may set in. Whatever leads these families to decide to place their loved one in a facility, it is not an easy decision. It comes down to a very over thought, emotional, personal soul-searching realization that it is finally time to put their loved one in the hands of someone else.

Soul-searching realization

 

 

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Going Off Topic

Blogging Sounds So Easy

Blogging can sometimes be difficult. Especially when you are slightly ADD and suffer from dyslexia. We are attempting to come up with weekly topics and create articles and memes around those topics. Sounds easy enough, but not so when I start staring at the keyboard. I have a general idea of what I want to do in my head. Then I try to put it into a meaningful structure that can be understood by our readers. More end up in the hyperspace trash bin than onto the internet blog space.

Partners in Frustration

My blogging partner Kim had asked me this weekend to look at some articles she had started that were in edit mode. For those that are not familiar with blogging here is a screenshot of part of our blogging console.blog console

It shows how many are published, how many drafts are unpublished, and how many are trashed. Trashed here is the digital equivalent of wadding it up and tossing it at the trashcan. It is still there just not on your desktop in your face. It can be permitted deleted = shredding. Or we can restore it the digital equivalent of smoothing the wrinkles out on the paper on top of the desk.blog console2

In my case more go to the shredder than make it to the World Wide Web. Another thing for me is a lot of my articles never make it to the blogger draft console. They are still scattered across various avenues that I travel. Two computers, desktop, and laptop, then there is the tablet which is almost always with me, but the tablet is the hardest for me to compose a meaningful post on.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I often start with a simple outline of one line ideas saved in Microsoft Word or Google Docs. This is where the ADD causes issues. What format did I use? If it was word what did I name it and where did I save it. The default should be Microsoft One Drive (The Cloud). If the format was Google Docs which account was I logged into (I have 6 Gmail accounts) between personal accounts, blogging accounts, and business accounts. I try to stay logged into my main personal account but sometimes I am forced to log out of that account and to log into another account. Which account did I save it to and what did I name the file. That is not always so bad, sometimes I come across those old notes and I am off and running on something to write. Other time they are trashed during housekeeping they are just clutter taking up space.

ADD Get Back on Topic

Oh, back to Kim she had asked me this past weekend to look at some of the blogs she had in the draft. Well, three days later I looked and nothing. Found them in the trash. WHAT. She is home not feeling well today, but the jerk-in-me sent her a chat message anyway. Yes, she intended to wad them up and toss in frustration to the digital waste pile, okay I’ll leave them but I did not send them to the digital shredder.

For every word, on this blog, every meme The Meme Queen creates. They are created out of experiences, frustration, feeling, tears, anger, happiness, and laughter.

We are shearing heartfelt life experiences there are stories behind the stories. Not sure if we will ever be able to share all of the tears.

Help Wanted

If you would like to help us we are looking for contributor’s people with a story or stories to tell and editors and editor and contribute proofread and correct articles.

Comforting Words and Alzheimer’s

Communicating Safety and Love

 

What words bring comfort to you…. cat, dog, mom, church, maybe even the word blue brings a sense of calm to you? Why do you suppose these words hold some sort of importance to you? Chances are they evoke feelings from somewhere deep inside you. If you think of a word as an emotion, rather than as the item the word describes; your new found ability to communicate could be the key that opens the door of understanding to communicate with a person living with Alzheimer’s.

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Not only words but familiar surroundings like sitting at a dinner table or passing a church can bring emotions to the surface. How about a familiar task such as folding laundry or washing dishes? What about a picture of a baby or a picture of a field of flowers? All of these simple things we may take for granted every day may have great meaning for a person living with Alzheimer’s. When I hear the words “homemade bread” or even bread pan….. I smile. It takes me back to the feeling of being loved by my Gram. All her hugs and kisses she bestowed upon me throughout her life. It also can bring back sadness. I miss the wonderful smell of baking bread as I entered her kitchen. I miss my Gram.

Listen with your heart

When your loved one says a word. Don’t take it for its literal meaning. Take a minute and think about what may revolve around that word. It may take them back in time, unlocking emotions from deep within their heart. Instead of just listening with your ears…..Listen with your heart. Let the true communication begin.

 

 

 

 

Time For Help

It’s Family

My grandma was in her late 80’s and my mom had left for her annual vacation….as usual I told my mom I would check in on Gram while she was gone. My mom was Grams source of transportation and had been since grandpa passed away many years ago, Gram never drove. I almost always visited on the weekends and Gram was really enjoying my mid-week visits while mom was on vacation. Since I was spending more time with Gram I got a chance to snoop around a little more than usual……as granddaughters sometimes do. Once I really looked around….. I noticed her house was more untidy than I remembered and I found several unpaid bills.

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Gram was always good with her finances. Keeping her checkbook balanced, always having to have a certain amount of money in the bank or she thought she was broke. She’d been the treasurer at our church for some forty years. She’d been an Avon lady for some twenty years….. although looking back now my mom and I had been helping her fill out her merchandise order forms for a few years prior. But I thought that had more to do with her visual decline due to macular degeneration.

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When my mom returned home from her vacation I told her about the unpaid bills, things being stuffed in strange places and boxes and boxes of just papers and papers and more papers. At that point, we decided it was time for Gram to have some additional help from us. The more time we spent with her, the more we realized her abilities to care for herself were declining. Gram had been living by herself for over sixteen years now so she welcomed the added attention from her family.

My mom had been asking for some time now for Gram to let her have access to her checking account. Gram had agreed to have my mom’s name added to the account and the checks but prior to this Gram would not allow her to do anything with it. Although Gram enjoyed us making her food and doing her laundry she was very resistant to relinquish any control of her checkbook.

Our Care Giving Journey

Thus began our caregiving journey with Gram….. none of which I would trade for anything.  I’ve asked my family and other caregivers to share the stories of their time spent with Gram. I’m looking forward to sharing the laughter and the tears with all of you.