PT. 5 CAREGIVER SERIES
HOW WE GOT HERE
This is a repost from July of 2014 that has been updated for the here and now. This is a look back at our very first Christmas together. Hopefully you can learn from my many mistakes!
The last 2 months of 2013 I spent correcting, reminding and bossing my mother around. We barely made it through Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. Mom was extremely difficult on both of these holidays. She was unfriendly and wouldn’t talk to anyone. She sat in the corner and passed out dirty looks as if they were one of a kind Christmas presents. I couldn’t figure out why she was being so grumpy when her children and grandchildren were finally all together, especially since this is all she had talked about for weeks.
My answer wouldn’t come until many months later. You see, in my family we have a Christmas Eve tradition. This is when we all get together for a big dinner and exchange gifts. That’s the problem. Christmas Eve is in the evening and when you add the chaos of a houseful of company I was just asking for a disaster.
Sundowning is the term used to describe what begins to happen to an Alzheimer’s patient as the sun goes down. They become steadily worse as the later it gets. Lethargic, angry, agitated. They become dull or lifeless. By having our celebration in the evening we were unknowly setting ourselves up for failure. A morning brunch would have been the optimal time or maybe even a luncheon.
It made me realize that our tradition would have to be altered a little bit. As a caregiver you will have to make these little adjustments to keep the agitation and frustration from becoming overwhelming. You will have to learn to be flexible. Things can change on a moments notice and you will need to be able to react accordingly.
If I could give one piece of advice it would be this…Don’t wait! Don’t wait until you are a caregiver to learn what to do and how to handle this new role. If you have any idea that this is where you are headed start researching now. I wish I had…
Appreciate the good, laugh at the crazy and deal with the rest.
I love you momma!