THE CAREGIVER’S TOOLKIT
This piece was previously published on March of 2014. It has since been revised. I hope you enjoy it!.
I’ve been thinking about an article I read on the Maria Shriver website. I love this site because it has stories and information relating to Alzheimer disease and their caregivers as well as women in general. Maria Shriver wrote this particular article titled “What’s In Your Toolkit for Life“. She describes the things she needs to get through her life and to become the best person she can be. What would I put in my toolbox? The sad thing is I haven’t a clue. Lately, I have been flying by the seat of my pants just getting through the day-to-day. I haven’t taken the time to really think about what I am doing and how I am going to go about doing it in the future. I try not to look too far ahead these days.
I know I want to be the best caregiver I can possibly be, but how do you do that? I have been on a mission to learn everything I can not only about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, but also Rheumatoid disease and autoimmune diseases. I know that to be able to take care of mom the best way I can I have to be able to maintain my own health as well.
Keeping organized is very important, but that sometimes becomes difficult with so many doctors offices and medication instructions. I have to make sure that I write everything down so nothing gets confused (Like showing up Monday for a MRI scheduled for Tuesday).
I also have to make sure that I make time every day to spend one on one time with mom just talking. I thought at first that I wouldn’t talk about Alzheimer’s disease with her. Not the nitty gritty, but I have changed my mind. I explained it all and what will happen. I showed her the video from the Alzheimer’s Reading Room called “What is Alzheimer’s Dease is and What It Does“.
She knows this is affecting her and the NOT knowing was really bothering her. We have these talks almost daily (Well, we have the same talk daily). The points that I try to stress more than what the disease is going to do is: no matter what it does, I will be here with her. That she will be taken care of, that she will be loved and that she will be safe. This is what she needs to hear, not that I will soon be bathing and feeding her. The future will come soon enough.
Back to the question “What would I put in my toolkit”. I would put in a book to learn from, a yo-yo to teach me to relax and not take everything so seriously, an egg timer to remind me that time flies, and a map to remind me to stay on the right path.
What would you put in your toolkit?
Appreciate the good, laugh at the crazy, and deal with the rest.
I love you momma!