Thoughts from Donna and Dom -
All 3 of my grandparents lived together with my parents for several years. There were lots of fond memories and my parents were very happy to have been able to take care of them for as long as they could. I asked them to write down memories and challenges they faced. Maybe you can relate.
DONNA's fond memories:
- Listening to my father give vivid accounts about when he was a child- things I never knew.
- Finding the right solution to a problem when my father started to have issues with food and seemed confused. I bought divided plates so his food was separated and that did the trick.
- Having lots of laughs over everything - my mother folding the laundry and holding up my underwear and asking what they were.
- All of them being so happy and chatty when company would visit.
- Feeling so much satisfaction preparing them meals, helping with their morning care and giving back to them for all they had done for me.
DOM's words of wisdom:
- The most important aspect of caring for the elderly is patience.
- When helping your 93 old father in law who had a bathroom accident, you need to leave your ego and pride at the door.
- It’s important to realize how fragile people with dementia can be -their inability to remember can create emotions that can get them excited and angry.
- You need to be patient with them and speak softly and kindly - with love.
- Always give care with love and humor. These are two things the elderly and dementia patients will understand and relate to.
More challenging times.
- My father being very focused on the clock and his pocket watch - constantly announcing the time when the chime would ring or would frequently ask "what time is it?".
- Losing my patience when I was fixing the window blind and my father kept asking me over and over again the same question: "what are you doing?" - after answering him many times, I got upset, had to leave the room and have a good, frustration cry.
- Feeling concerned when my mom would sit in her recliner and started to "see things" that weren't there such as piles of garbage in the back lawn, two men on the roof of the neighbor's house.
- Worrying when my mom needed more assistance with walking and using her walker safely in the house - often forgetting it altogether.
- Trying NOT to say "do you remember?".
- Feeling sad when I noticed my mother not being able to follow conversations as well (but she would always smile and laugh).
- Feeling guilty that we weren't giving them enough to occupy their time.