More than forty years ago,I took care of my first Alzheimer’s patient. Back then we called a patient confused. The trade marks were the same: little by little the mind ebbs and the memory recedes.
I have learned much as I have looked through the window of an elderly person’s life. There is a store house of information, experience, history that is so close. My challenge as a caregiver is to find the key that unlocks the treasure chest.
By the time I enter a client’s life, they have “lost” quite a bit of memory. But there is always some treasure if I am patient. “Patient” is the operative word – I cannot have an agenda, be pushy or in a big hurry.
Mary loves children and she most often sets the tone for the conversation. Her years of experience as a school teacher are like gold for me as my other life is teaching African children. It is a joy to hear children in the background of her life.
Today- I grasped at another treasure – we look good in the same colors. She chose several outfits that would look good on either of us. Last week we had a pillow fight and got into a fit of laughter. She asked me a puzzle of a question; I asked her one in return.
Each day we find what we can do not what we can’t do and it works.
I am not inferring that caring for a person with Alzheimer’s is easy – It is Not! As the wave recedes, I am sorrowful for the yesterdays that are lost. But my hand is going to clasp hers and be grateful that there are more days filled with treasure if I am ready to hunt for it.
Tide is fading
wind thrashes each memory
deep blue sea