Angie’s husband John was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2008. This is their story.
It’s National Caregivers Month and we’re on a roll talking about common caregiving challenges. Many of you know Angie, who blogs about her experience caring for her husband who has Early Stage, Younger Onset Alzheimer’s.
Her latest blog is a great example of this week’s topic, caregiver stress management:
In my support group we sometimes talk about the often heard phrase, “take time to take care of you.” The biggest questions for me are: How? When? Between work, church, family and John; I barely have time to make sure my toenails are polished.
But the conversation made me think, do I take care of myself? I’ve tried different things: a gratitude journal, meditation, the gym, food, drink. All had their pros and cons. As a writer, I liked the idea of the journal. The premise was simple, just jot down five things a day. Seemed easy enough, but after a few weeks I was circling around the same things. I couldn’t keep it fresh, so I got bored. Continue reading ““I barely have time to make sure my toenails are polished.”” »
We were sitting at the dinner table, just finishing up our evening meal when John looked at me and said, “I’m really sad.”
I stopped fussing with the plates and gave him my full attention. “Why are you sad?”
“I’m sad because I’m leaving you. Alzheimer’s is making me leave you. I’m dying.”
I got up to hug my husband. Although I tried to comfort him by saying that none of us really knew where and when they would die. In my heart I knew that John believed what he was saying. He was actually fading away. Continue reading “John confesses to Angie: “I’m really sad.”” »
Our innocent antique hat rack leads to unexpected problems...
In less than 60 days will have reached the three year mark of John’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Amazingly, even though I know the prognosis for the disease, I thought that we could hum along where we were at the two-year mark when my husband was at 80 to 85 percent of his old self. That obviously was a dream.
John can still do many, many tasks: gardening, dishes, laundry, making the bed, taking care of himself and our dog Tobey. But I have recently found out that he isn’t doing it all alone. When I came home from work the other day my husband met me at the door to tell me there were people in our house. Continue reading “Angie deals with some unwelcome visitors” »
John learns to nurture a summer garden
The tomatoes are in. So are green beans, eggplant, lettuce, peppers, squash, herbs, strawberries and radishes. This experiment of getting John engaged in new activities started with a few tomato plants, but it has become so much more.
In preparation, we hired someone to clear the area of our front yard that sits between our driveway and our neighbors. Everything but two rose trees were removed and hauled away. This left us with a sunny 12 by 8 foot plot. As a lifelong gardener, I was excited about the possibilities; John was worried about the amount of work involved but liked the idea of being outdoors. Continue reading “John’s summer project: learn to nurture a garden” »
John woke up yesterday morning at 6 a.m. and decided the time was right to plant our tomatoes. Never mind that we had yet to buy the needed items to create our garden, he was ready.
So we get dressed and head out to Home Depot with a pit stop at Starbucks. John has a special fondness for hot chocolate and he always has it made extra hot, “upside down.” Because Starbucks doesn’t stir their drinks, he believes that this is the only way to get the syrup appropriately mixed. Well we walk in and I being a purist order bold coffee, black and started to add John’s order when the young woman behind the counter looks at him and said, “John, hot chocolate, upside down, extra hot.” We rarely frequent this location yet she remembered John and his drink from the time she worked at our regular stop. His smile was so big, he could have split his face.
It was a sweet moment. The last one we would have that morning. Continue reading “Angie and John witness a violent act that leaves them with a sense of loss” »
A recent health scare made me start thinking about what would happen to John if something suddenly happened to me. I’m not worried about the overall money situation, we created a trust over a year ago and I believe the plans we made there are sound. Continue reading “What would happen to John if something happened to me?” »