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Essays on LBD Caregiving

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Someone asked me if I had made any New Year’s resolutions. I laughed, surprised that it hadn’t even occurred to me. Maybe, I thought, it is because it is all I can do to stay focused on my intentions.

My Christmas list is short. Things, it seems, are what I have too much of. I can’t keep track of all mine, all his, and all ours. I am trying, not very successfully, to pare down the number of things that need organizing, dusting, fixing, storing, filing, displaying, accounting for, or maintaining. So, beyond my short list of things, my Christmas list is this:

I went into labor on Halloween night 1971. While we awaited the birth of our first child, Chuck and I joked that the baby might be born a tiny hobgoblin or witch.

Several years ago I went to an auto supply store and asked if I could buy the kind of paper mats that mechanics leave in your car. They sold me a pack of two hundred, and I began using them in place of rugs on the bathroom floors. They make accidents easy to spot, working as blotters that make cleanup easier. Since they are disposable I am not constantly washing rugs.

This morning I am feeling the weather. Or is it reality that floods over me and wants to pull me under?

When I give Nelson a haircut or wash his hair in the shower, he cannot keep his head upright. So I am constantly pushing against his forehead to move him into an erect position.

Living constantly with loss, coupled with the ever-increasing responsibility of caregiving, pulls me off balance and gives me the feeling of being in limbo.

This morning Nelson is at home so that he can go with me to Columbus for the Area Agency on Aging Caregiver Awards Ceremony. I will be given an award, but now I am stressed by the extra attentiveness needed while he is at loose ends until we leave at 1:00

I used to collect moments like precious gems to horde in my memory for revisiting when I needed a break from the demands of caregiving.

“Word salad” is what a Reader’s Digest article calls the scramble that happens when persons with dementia use substitute words and phrases for what they are trying to say. Word salads have been the source of both laughter and tears for us.