Now my almost 92 year old mother in law is asking anyone who is listening if Gene Autrey used to sing a certain song, but what was it? (We need some clues here before we can figure out which song she is thinking about). And he had a horse named, oh it was a beautiful horse...and Roy Rogers and Dale Evans sang "Back in the Saddle Again" and what was his horse's name? I said "Trigger". And did we know that Gene Autrey owned the Angels and, so on and so on. This is the way it goes...conversations go off on different tangents here frequently. She may start talking about one thing and that leads to another and another and off we go again around the mulberry bush. Such are the ramblings of someone who has mild dementia...(sometimes not as mild as other times) and one can feel like he is watching a ping pong match trying to keep up with the train of thought.
This post is sounding a lot like that. That's what happens after a weekend of trying to keep up with the train and keep it on the track and not allow it to go into dangerous territory...i.e.; some subjects are better left alone. When the "train" starts venturing into that region it is my responsibility to pull it back on the track and keep it going in the right direction...the "safe zones" of pleasant conversation and not areas of anxieties, fears, frustrations, anger and "I want to go back to my own home," and "If I still had my car I could still live at home."
Anyone who has been a caregiver for a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer's can relate. Things can go from pleasant to anger in a flash. I have to remember to not try to correct anything that she might say that I know is wrong, because then I am the one who is wrong and judgmental. And don't dare let things get out of order...everything needs to be in the right place at the right time...and meals and pills must stay on schedule. I tend to do this almost to a fault, because I understand the consequences if I don't keep a tight schedule. There isn't a lot of room for flexibility in this arena.
We share this responsibility of care with my husband's brother and family. Thank goodness we are still able to do that, even though it means that we are giving up our weekends...but they have her during the week.
The weekends have turned out to be really nice for my mother in law because she truly enjoys our little Home Bible Fellowship every Sunday morning,
Music is the highlight of her life right now. I understand that is rather typical for elderly people, especially with dementia. The memory of music seems to be one of the last "senses", if you want to call it that, to go.
There are many golden moments, such as when she started telling the ladies this weekend about the song, "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, There's just something about that name..." (by Bill and Gloria Gaither) and this gracious group of women just picked right up on that and started singing the song with her. What a perfect way to start our prayer gathering! That was totally unplanned...but God knew exactly how to use her "story" to put us in the right frame of mind. It's those kinds of moments that make me pause and smile and say, "That was YOU, Lord, wasn't it? Thank you for living in this precious woman."
|My Beautiful 92 yr. old Mother in Law is the lovely lady|
in the center with the white hair!
"Even to your old age, I am He, and even to gray hairs I will carry you!" Isaiah 46:4
I sometimes wonder if my own sons will be able to care for me when I reach that stage of life...or if anyone will have the patience to deal with my anxieties and feebleness. What a comfort it is to know that even to our own old age, God promises to carry us. He knows our needs and will provide whatever we need when the time comes. I want to be faithful to do my part now for as long as I am able...and trust that when the time comes, God will send the necessary help.
If you are going through similar trials in your family right now, my word of encouragement would be to trust God to see you through. Let Him guide you as you make decisions for your loved one's care, whether it be at home or in a place of professional long term care. Be sensitive to your family member's needs, but be realistic and reasonable about what you can and cannot do. We are blessed that our dear one is still physically in pretty good shape, and that we have the support and cooperation of other family members. It may not always be so.
There are many challenges ahead, but in the meantime we will make the most of the good times and give God praise for her good health, wisdom, and Christian faith. The future rests in God's capable hands. I know He knows what is best for ALL concerned. And you can rely on that as well in your situation.
Well, I must get to bed. It's been a long weekend, and tomorrow morning I head back to work at my "real job".
BY THE WAY, WHAT WAS THE NAME OF GENE AUTREY'S HORSE? DO YOU KNOW? YOU GET A GOLD STAR FOR THE CORRECT ANSWER!