You do not have to buy a present for every single person you’ve called a friend since middle school. If you don’t have the time or energy to send out holiday cards, then don’t do it. Maybe Midnight mass just isn’t in the cards this year. No one ever died from only having one choice of pie at a holiday dinner (unless it’s pumpkin pie, which is disgusting since pumpkin is a decorative item and not a real food–just an opinion).
And then there are people who promise their loved ones that they will never place them in a nursing home. I once had a woman say to me, “My husband and I promised we’d never do that to each other.”
I can promise my spouse a lot of things. I can promise I’ll never cheat on him. I can promise I’ll never blow all our money at the casino. I can promise to always take the kitchen trash out when it’s overflowing. (Bill, I promise you the first two–I make no commitment to the third. The third was just an example.) You see, those are things I can control.
You see, I’m not concerned about them. I’m concerned about you. They may never understand your diagnosis. And I don’t want their ignorance to negatively impact your quality of life. You’ve got enough challenges to navigate. It is not your job to explain your symptoms to them. You have nothing to prove to them. You and your care partner must make choices in your own best interest. If they don’t get it, then they don’t get it. If they call you a diva behind your back (or even to your face), let them. You have limited time and energy. Do not spend it explaining yourself to them.
Sometimes I write for people with dementia. Sometimes I write for people who have no experience in Dementialand. But today…today I am writing for dementia caregivers. And, really, for all caregivers. If you are a caregiver, things can get pretty rough. I can show you research studies on the rates of clinical depression among caregivers. […]
I was talking to some friends a few weeks back, and the TV show My 600-Pound Life on TLC came up in conversation. It’s a reality show about super-obese individuals who get weight loss surgery and attempt to change their lives for the better. For some reason, I was hesitant to admit to my friends that […]
There’s a lot people don’t tell you about dementia. The doctor says your loved one has dementia. Maybe it’s Alzheimer’s. Maybe it’s Vascular Dementia, Lewy-Body, or Frontotemporal Dementia. The doctor only has a limited amount of time because that’s how our medical system works. You go home. No one teaches you how to live with […]
I gave a presentation for dementia family caregivers at a memory care community last fall. A middle-aged woman in the front row did not seem impressed with me at all. She almost scowled at me when we did make eye contact, but for most of my presentation she stared at the wall above my head. […]
I once got in a tense argument about whether a stuffed cat was a real cat. For the record, it was a stuffed cat but really it was a real cat. About ten years ago, I was visiting with a hospice patient on a weekly basis. Linda-not her real name-had vascular dementia (as well as multiple other […]
I spoke at the Illinois and Iowa Quad City Family Conference on Saturday. We had a great turnout, and even had some press coverage: http://qctimes.com/news/local/caregiver-conference-attracts-its-biggest-crowd-ever/article_ee4294a2-6fb4-5e3e-ba81-64b7666b8288.html (Please note that I hate my press photo and have no idea why it appears that my hair is longer on one side than the other.) After I spoke, a small […]
Although I used the term “role reversal” in the title, I’ll be really clear in telling you I don’t like it. I hear people say things about how they’ve become a mother to their own mother, or something to that effect. And I get where they are coming from, but caregiving for an older adult […]