2018-John-at-OMA

Be Present – Visit often

2019 John Ellsworth
2019 John Ellsworth

I see John daily in his Assisted Living area. I am so blessed that we moved to a Continuing Care Retirement Community back in 2006. That was long before he showed any signs that he would develop significant issues with his cognitive abilities. John didn’t show any before he was 72 or 73.

Because we moved here I simply take my own power chair and go to the breakfast area where he now lives. That is so very much simpler than having to get into my car and drive to a different facility.

Be Grateful – always

For me, I’m always incredibly grateful that I have MS. Imagine that! But we would still be living in our own house and I would be alone there. I’d have to deal with his more severe level of care myself or have an aide to move in to do the work. So yes, I’m grateful that my MS caused us to make the move when I was so very young (only 58 and he just turned 65).

Be Practical

I hope that you have heeded the wise advice to consider the practicality of making this decision before it’s needed. Staying in your own home sounds like a good idea. But remember: we all do age and will eventually need care. My favorite aunt told me a long time ago: “When you do go looking for a place, be sure to see where you will be when they are taking care of you. The apartments can always look good.” She was so wise.

I’m not already exhausted and am much more able to get his day started with a pleasant experience. Any way, so now caregiving is not getting in the way of my loving him.

We’ve found that he is much more available in the morning. As many others, he has that ‘sundowning’ which makes his afternoons and evenings quite challenging.

Be Loving

Every morning I greet him with a big smile. I am able to be with him right after the aides have gotten him showered, dressed and walked out to the breakfast area. I’m not already suffering from all the cajoling necessary to get him ready.

I’ve learned not to ‘meet him where he is’. So if he’s not making sense, I don’t try to convince him otherwise. So what if he’s mistaken or that something else is truth. You simply cannot win arguing with your loved one’s dementia riddled brain. They are really not doing it ‘to you’, they’re only ill.