Welcome Weary Reader

John Lennon reminded us that “life is what happens to [us while we’re] busy making other plans.”

When you least expect it.... a little beautyMaybe some people planned their lives thinking that one day they’d be caring for a family member with dementia, but I didn’t. In countless conversations with people who are now caregivers, not one has ever told me that they expected to assume this responsibility or felt well-prepared to take it on. Most of us accepted our roles when faced with a set of tough choices. For some, the decision to care for a parent at home is driven by economic concern, for others it is based on family values. But caring for our loved ones with dementia can also be an act of pure love. On this topic, John Lennon also offered advice. “All you need is love”, he sang. But caregivers need much more than that. We need sleep, health care, friends, information, support….and jokes. Without a sense of humor, the home care path is a trip to the Sahara with no canteen.

I decided to take care of my mom in my own home because it was the best option in a moment of crisis. When that moment turned into a month…which grew into a year…I found myself adapting to the situation whether I liked it or not. Today, I feel that this crisis choice led me on a journey that has strengthened our family and forever changed my perspective on life. If I look back at all, it’s only to cringe at the idea that any other possibility once crossed my mind.

Although caring for a dementia patient has had many unforeseeable joys, I will be the first to admit that you pay for every joyful hour with many sad and challenging ones. This site was not created to advocate in favor of a particular approach to caregiving — none of them are easy. But I hope that the posts and guest interviews will provide ideas that help families make good decisions about how to solve problems that arise when caring for a dementia victim. If you have questions you’d like to see addressed here, please send them to me at betweenthepondandthewoods@info.com. My years of work as a writer and researcher have helped me build contacts with experts in many fields. If I have no insight to offer, I will do my best to get answers from others.

This introductory post is a way of saying hello to my fellow caregivers and welcoming you to a place for connection and support. Say hi if you have a minute. You will also find a link where you can submit “Crazy Lives Here” pictures. This is where we will feature a photo of the month’s most harried and hilarious caregiver. Send something in for October. You’re got the time, right?

With maximum respect,

Colleen

2 Responses to Welcome Weary Reader

  1. I am a nurse & care for the elderly in a Nursing Home called Harmonee House. There is a very unique reason for the name but, I won’t go into detail as it is very lengthy. My husband was a victim of the dreaded Alzheimer’s Disease along with vascular dementia. He was a very strong, determined man, very set in his ways. He was just a little this side of brilliant as a building contractor in the construction of any kind of medical facilities…IE; Hospitals, clinics, etc. Also built chemical laboratories. He loved traveling in RV’s after retiring. He was diagnosed with this disease quite awhile after I had suspected his problem because I could not get him to see his Doctor even though he had always been one for regular check ups, he was always told he was as healthy as anyone could be at his age. This was stamped in his mind & one thing he never forgot as long as he any bit of memory left . Over two years his doctor & I came up with every reason we could think of to get him into the clinic for tests. He had a traffic accident which warranted the need to be hospitalized (after walking away from many other traffic mishaps, driving without a DL, since it had been taken away from him, another huge fine, but fortunately, out of all the accidents (apprx. 20) no one else was hurt or, more importantly, killed) he was diagnosed & put on medication. He was so far advanced in the disease, the medication used for onset of the disease, did not help him. He had no hospital insurance, only medicare. At that time alot of procedures that were required, were not covered my medicare & our savings were depleted very rapidly. This is not the end of a very tragic story but, I will stop here. I have written this so people will be aware of the costs, mentally & financially, associated with this disease, that they maybe prepared should it ever, suddenly, pop up in their family. Make yourself aware of the signs & symptoms & get checked as quickly as possible if & when a sign is suspected. The medication for Alzheimer will help if it is started in early stages. It will make life so much easier for the unfortunate one & the care giver. Believe me, you will need all the help you can receive. I am a nurse & have taken care of patients with dementia & it is heartbreaking but, when it becomes a family member & you have to watch a mind deteriorate of a loved one, I can’t express enough how terrible this can be. Alzheimer’s Associations need all the help they can get, especially,financial.

  2. Thank you for your heartfelt message. I really feel for you and hope that your tale will offer other readers information that may help them on this difficult journey. I will be posting some articles on medical costs and insurance issues in the future. Your experience is one that is shared by those of us who are bewildered by the financial realities surrounding care for people with this disease. Warm regards to you and your family.

    Sincerely, Colleen

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