Caregiver memories include a lifetime of our own experiences, plus the things we remember for our loved ones. Many of us keep photos around to remind them of who they were and what they did before #dementia struck. Autumn makes me nostalgic about these moments from the past. Is it the beauty of changing leaves or the fact that Fall signals the end of something?
Today I took my camera and drove to one of my favorite spots. Weissport Canal lies at the southern end of a 22-mile trail along the Lehigh River. The Canal, which is part of the #D&L Trail, is a short ride from my house. Many bikers, walkers, and families exercise along the canal path which is bordered by water on both sides. One bank faces the canal, which is home to a flock of well-fed ducks, some tortoises, fish, and lots of water fowl. The opposite side faces the rushing waters of the Lehigh. The end of the path offers beautiful views of the surrounding mountains.
Caregiver Memories: make more now!
I always find beauty at the Weissport Canal. Sometimes it’s in the shape of the trees or their reflections on the water. Whatever I see is enhanced by memories of strolling along that path with my mother when #dementia first struck. She attended a program in a town near Weissport. Sometimes I’d pick her up at the end of the day and stop at the canal on our way home. The ducks swim all around the canal and many parents bring their children to see them. They delighted my mother most when they were quacking up a lot of noise. She loved to watch the adult birds teach their little ducklings how to swim. Once in a while, I’d remember to bring some bird food so she could feed them. That made her especially happy.
When you begin taking care of someone with #dementia, you never expect events from those early scary days to become cherished memories. The sudden arrival of symptoms fills you with dread as you struggle to get a diagnosis. Every day you fear that the absolute worst is about to occur. But if I could give any advice to a new #caregiver, it would be to focus on the simple activities that a dementia patient can still enjoy. Take those walks by the canal, or in your local park. Notice the changing leaves or any beauty you can still share. When nostalgia strikes in the future, it will help you a lot to have good memories on file.