Saturday, May 27, 2006

Fragments from today's diary

Responses to the Alzheimer's Caregiver's on-line Community

1) Social Life and the Alzheimer's Caregiver - my discussion topic:

I’ve read in a number of places that a woman married to a man with Alzheimer's is living a widow's life. I've never felt a sense of widowhood, but last night at a social function I did feel I am living the life of an almost widow. Here at the table I was sitting at were a handful of couples, each while engaged with everyone in the group, as I was, was also happily engaged with each other.

I went to the function by myself because I knew it would be too stressful and too late at night for Abe. I have in-home care now so pushed myself to go. I had a wonderful time, actually, meeting new people and visiting with long-time associates, but I missed my husband and felt myself bringing up his name in conversation a little too often. It worked out fine, but I can see that now that I am able to get out of the house and explore myself in new territories, I will need to process how I am going to handle being an almost widow.

The term hurts in my stomach, my psyche, my whole body; but there it is, along with the accompanying fear and sense of aloneness in this new area of study in which I am, unfortunately, becoming an expert.

2) 9:30 pm
from my discussion topic. Response to S whose father was abusive:
My thinking now is that Alzheimer's is a death sentence - or call it a re-birth? - in terms of the death or exchange of one individual for another. With respect to your dad, a new person, or the positive self of the old, has emerged, so new rules apply. Not that it's easy to forget the person you grew up with.

my response to L who wants to hear other people's experiences on finding caregiving help:

3) Hi L
Finding the right caregiver was a nightmare for me so I know what you're going through. I finally found someone who just happened to need a live-in situation right away. He's wonderful but I only have him through the summer and have decided not to start panicking until July. But at least now i know what works for my husband--someone who is non-threatening and quiet and who does not hover over him. I had so many women in here who would boss him around or want to do things with him when he just wants to sit and read or listen to music, look at the tres or watch tv. Part of it has been figuring out what my LO wanted at a particular time. Finding someone who can move with twists and turns is essential and also someone who knows how to re-direct away from behaviors, such as wandering.

4) Hi K
No, you're not off the subject for a caregiver's discussion. As a sister Washingtonian, it's perfect. Here's another take on rain. When it's sunny out I feel guilty, as if it's my duty to take my body outside and get some vitamin D, but when it's gray and rainy I don't have to make excuses for reading or for writing at the computer (not that I do really). It's been pouring here in Seattle and I'm lovin' it. Which isn't to say you should. Just another take.

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