Sunday, January 3, 2010

Alzheimer's Patient Activity: What Matters Most

New Years came and went... and Pat sat in her chair, watching us, staring in to space... and I feel bad for her. I feel bad that she is forgotten by society. So many people say they will call, stop by, take her to lunch, etc, but then we never hear from them. And I wonder why?

Why do people act as though she hasdied? Like she no longer exists? Mark and I both think people avoid her because they don't know what to do around her. What do they talk about? What will she do? Will she freak out? Will she remember who they are? I'm not sure what goes through people's minds. I understand their discomfort. Before Pat, I was the same way.

Now that I take care of Pat, though, I've changed the way I look at life. I don't think so much about what I am getting out of my relationship with her. More about what she gets out of it. Does it really matter if you are uncomfortable... even irritated for an hour or two? Just look at what good it can do for that person. It brightens the day for someone who has NOTHING to look forward to.

I guess that's why I take care of Pat. I know the difference it makes in her life. I know sometimes, it is a difference between life and death... and sometimes much more. There are bigger things than life and death that none of us would care to witness. I shutter to think about someone else taking care of her. I know the things she does even with two people living with her, loving her and watching her. How is someone with no emotional ties going to be when no one is watching them?

I know some incredible nurses and aides, but I also know some not so good ones. Who is to say which of the two would be her caregiver? She is safe with us, no question... no gamble. And it's fine the way it is. we just wish she had more interaction.

Interaction for Pat is important and it's hard for us to do it every day. Every day. All day. And it's not that she is tough to be around. It's that I have never spent 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in the same house with anyone ever. Even Mark and I spend less time together than we do with her so it would be nice to have visitors. I understand how akward it is though and that all her friends are as old as her or older.

Perhaps it is time to get some relief help from time to time.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Christina,

    I have found the same. Michael's friends dropped off years ago and in doing so their partners. I used to think they were my friends too. All we have left is my friends.

    His brothers don't visit often either and they live anywhere from 15-20 miles away. I too can understand that they feel uncomfortable and are sad about the brother they have 'lost.' But why can't they phone, even if just to ask me how he is? His sister lives some distance away, but she come to see him two to three times a year and I love her (even more) for that.

    I accept it can be an awkward situation and a silence is hard to fill if a person has no conversation. But it still hurts when folk stop dropping by.

    Mags. xxx