Monday, January 23, 2012

Moving Out

It is with deep sadness that my family and I have decided to move out from my parents house. We have been here for two and a half years and have been able to help my parents in many ways. However, I am sure all of you caregivers know, 24/7 caregiving can be very hard to handle. It takes up a lot of your life and while you feel honored to do it, it also takes a tole.
Photo by Jeff Norris

For my family- me, my husband, and son,-it was becoming too hard for us to maintain our life and be live-in caregivers as Mom's care needs have significantly increased. We have discovered that we need our own space in order to create a strong family unit for the three of us.

We are only moving 2.5 miles away and we will still be helping to care for Mom. This actually allows for some help to come into the home and we have found a great caregiver who likes to do projects with Mom. She has worked as a nurse with the elderly population and really knows how to communicate with Mom and engage her in projects. I think this will actually make Mom's life more joyful as she will have more things to do and enjoy.

I do wish we could remain living with Mom and Dad as we love them very much and want to help as much as possible. It makes us sad to know we won't be here all day for them. However, as all of us children need to remember, our parents want us to be happy and healthy-they want what is best for us. Our parents never want us to give up too much of our lives or ourselves in order to care for them. Mom and Dad are supportive of our decision and are looking forward to having us take over some of the big family events in our new house.

We have had many good times living with dementia and we feel honored to have been able to take this journey with Mom and Dad on a daily basis. Jeff and I have learned a lot about family, love, and life by the example of my parents. We are so appreciative of all they have taught us and how close we have grown together. We are looking forward to the ways in which we will still be able to help them in the future in our new home.

I will of course continue to keep up on the blog since we will still be caregivers for Mom. It will be interesting to see how this change goes and what new roads lie ahead for all of us. 


Rev. Katie

Monday, January 16, 2012

Reading For Your Loved One

It becomes increasingly hard to make sure Mom's day is filled with enjoyable activities for her since her ability has deteriorated so much. People often suggest that she can read, but she can no longer see well enough to read large print material. It is not that she is losing her sight, but rather that she is seeing things differently. Words literally jump off the page and move around on her, so she just can't read anymore.
Photo by Jeff Norris

However, my Dad has started reading to my Mom, almost on a daily basis now. I have to say, it is so cute! It is great to see them spending time together and reading something that they can then both talk about later.

Sometimes we are unsure about offering to read to someone for fear of treating them like a child, but many people really like to be read to. It can allow them to find enjoyment in reading again if they can't read on their own and often listening to someone else read is a relaxing and comforting experience.

I think it is great that my fast paced Dad takes time to sit and read with Mom. It shows how much he loves her and likes to care for her.


Rev. Katie

Monday, January 9, 2012

How Does Your Faith Help You?

Rehnberg Memorial Window @ Unitarian Universalist Church of Rockford, IL

I was recently talking with other caregivers of people with dementia/Alzheimer's and many of them commented on what a support their faith is to them. Some expressed that they believe God has a purpose in all things and they trust that purpose. Some said they pray for things like humor in hard times, or patience to help them understand better. Some said they make a point to find the blessings in the midst of this illness.

For me, my I find my faith helps me accept what is right in front of me rather than wishing things were different. My faith helps me remember that all we have is the present moment and if I can learn to stay in that moment, I can truly enjoy what good is happening, because there is always some good somewhere. My faith also shows me the great love that exists in this Universe, lived out by communities of caring people who help me and my family along this path.

How does your faith help you?


Rev. Katie