When your significant other, relatives, or friends are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, the first step to retain your sanity is to establish House Rules for yourself.
Many people don’t think that way. House rules are for other people including you, but it’s a necessity when you’re the caregiver to establish precedents that will help you keep running your life and house smoothly.
With everyone using a cell phone or a tablet, many people don’t consider this a problem. However, if you still have a land line, and some people do then you must leave instructions to handle this very important situation.
Recently I phoned my hairdresser to reschedule my appointment. I left a message on her answering machine. Three days passed, and I didn’t hear a word. Concerned, I drove over to her salon to make sure she was all right.
I found her with a customer. Shocked, she asked what I was doing there. I told her that I never received a call back. She told me that she called me right after I left the message. She also told me she left the message with my spouse. Spouse with short-term memory.
Knowing that this could happen again, I gave her my cell phone number and told me to call me on that line for next time.
It was my responsibility to make sure that I do this with all of my important people in my life because of short-term memory loss on my partner’s part. It wasn’t their fault. It was mine.
My spouse cooks. I bake. We made that deal 29 years ago. It has stood the test of time.
My spouse still does the cooking.
Yes, it takes longer. Yes, we discuss the menu every time because they don’t remember from one time to the next. Yes, it’s a pain.
Let’s face it. Short term memory loss. I’m the one who plans the menu ahead of time so when it comes to reminding them of what is on the menu, everyone is on the same page.
My spouse been driving since he was 16.
Driving is personal. It’s something that every self-respecting American does from the time they’re born. Practice in the car with parents become the reality for when they test for their learner’s permit.
And the process begins. Imagine the duress when my spouse was suddenly told, “you can’t drive anymore.”
They were indignant. It’s like this. Cognitive thinking and connections aren’t what they were formerly.
I took over the driving. My spouse hates it. They’re a lousy navigator because they don’t remember the first part of the sentence by the time they’ve finished the sentence.
I spoke to their doctor. Short term driving around town is allowed.
They’re half smiling.
No one likes someone who micro-manages. Alzheimer’s patients in the beginning stages don’t like it either.
I trust them. I respect them. I give them their space.
They wear an id bracelet with name, address, and phone number.
We agreed to disagree. They wear it.
Our town police know them.
The doctor assures me they won’t stray too far from home.
I’ve got to let them go.
Either with a football helmet, an id bracelet or a doggie tag, but I let them have their independence.
Trust, faith, respect, that’s what it’s all about people!