I seem to have inadvertently caused some kind of a ballyhoo among my friends with this post. My intentions were never to point out the flaws of my mother-in-law. Many worried that she might read the post and get mad.
My intention was to draw awareness to the fact that many (certainly not all!) spouses become the primary care-givers when it is determined that one of them has Alzheimer’s. For several years now it was suspected in our family that something wasn’t quite right with “Dad.” But, we were met with resistance every single time we suggested getting an evaluation. We were told by the care-giver herself, “What difference does it make? They can’t do anything about it anyway.” Now this has been frustrating to hear, and frighteningly, not an uncommon assumption.
But let me correct this erroneous conclusion: there are many things that can be done “about it.” For one, the person suffering with this disease needs mild exercise every day. They need association and stimulating activities, perhaps playing a game, crossword puzzles or reading. These are all pastimes Joseph enjoys doing. Of course nowadays he needs to be told that he enjoys being around others and that he enjoys getting dressed everyday and going outside, but that is besides the point. These are very beneficial things for someone with Alzheimer’s to do and easy enough for the care-giver to provide. Sadly, some care-givers don’t know what they are supposed to do. They are hindered by their fears and overwhelmed to the point of exhaustion with the new responsibilities.
I’m actually quite proud to say that Joseph’s primary care-giver is really stepping up to her responsibilities. She has made a turn around in her opinions and is willing and ready to do all that she can. And where she can’t do it all, she has been very accommodating in allowing others into the home to help, including her children. We really don’t want to pick on her. We want to help and support her, and offer her comfort in this dire time. We want to feel useful too, and the good news is she is letting us. In addition to the adult day club Joseph attends three times a week, Paul and I pick him up one day a week and keep him all day with us. This has been fun, at least for us! He is easy going, unlike some victims of Alzheimer’s, who react with violence. Home care providers come in weekly, as well as a nurse to check his medications. So, things are going much better in the Kempler family.
Little adjustments have also been made. Joseph now uses his walker everywhere he goes, including scooting around the house. Now, we don’t worry too much about his falling over and hurting himself, or someone else. A handrail has been installed on the garage steps and Joseph is quite happy with it.
Improvements have been made, and we are learning what further tweaks we need to make as we go. I personally feel really positive about Joseph’s care. We have a program in place and we take each day as it comes.
So for all of you who were so concerned about my post, please re-read it. I promise it reads differently the second time around. I’m really not a meany.
- She’s Back! (melissacrandall.wordpress.com)