Tag Archives: love

Does She Even Know I’m Here?

Caring for a loved one with dementia is truly a difficult road.  To see someone important in your life slowly slipping away from you can be heart wrenching.  And when your loved one enters into the later stages of dementia, you may wonder if they even know that you are there any longer.

This video can affirm for you that the connection can still exist.  Though you may not be greeted with that connection during each visit or interaction, when it happens it can be very powerful for you.

 

If you are caring for or have a loved one who is suffering from dementia, please watch this video…..all the way to the end.  Though it may initially break your heart, it will ultimately lift you up and validate your ongoing efforts to connect to your loved one.

 

Naomi Feil, founder of Validation Therapy, shares a breakthrough moment of communication with Gladys Wilson, a woman who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2000 and is virtually non-verbal.

 

On the journey with you,

Kathy

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Lessons We Learn….(About Best Friends….)

“I’ve learned that I would rather have a best friend than a boyfriend, except maybe on a Friday night.”  Best friends can’t be over-rated!  They hold a special and important place in our lives.  They are the ones who have seen you at your worst and still love you.  They are your biggest champion when you are going through something tough and the soft place to fall when you’ve been shot down.  They help to lighten your load when someone has put that last straw on your back.

They rush to your side in times of need and help you plan when your brain can’t function.  They are the first person you think to call when you need somebody to talk to; the person that will never judge you.  They celebrate your achievements and are genuinely happy for you when your life is going great.

I am fortunate to have such a friend.  We have gotten each other through much in life:  nursing school (where we met), raising our children (and some of the worrisome things that go along with that), menopause, aging parents, not to mention the challenges of working in healthcare.

We always said that whatever one of us could not figure out, the other one could.  We have different strengths that when put together created an amazing ability.  When we have worked together in the past, we’ve been a mighty force and darn nigh unstoppable.

Not that we are not capable on our own (I think she is brilliant!), but things are always easier and life is more fun when you have your best friend to share it with.

My father has a best friend.  At 81 he still has in his life a friend from childhood that he has remained close to all of these years.  They have a nickname for each other (Tink) that harkens back to some pool-playing-times as teenagers.  They know and understand each other at a level that nobody else does.  They have seen each other through many things in life and have been like family to one another (and the rest of us too!).  When my father officiated at my wedding, it was ‘Tink” that stood in and escorted me up the aisle.  Now they are seeing each other through the difficult stages of aging but can still be heard singing a harmonized duet together (about another friend) given any chance to do so.  Truly life-long friends.

We all need somebody in our lives like this. Going through life without friends would be pretty hard and not much fun.  We need friends to share the ups and downs.  We need friends to know us deeply and still love us.  We need them to give us perspective and cheer us on.  We need them to make life whole and wonderful.

Though my best friend no longer lives close by, I know that I can pick up the phone and call her and she will be there; just like always.  She will be calming if I’m anxious and excited for me if I have something great to share.  Nobody could really replace her in my life.  Some friends really are the family that you choose for yourself.

Cherish them…..

On the journey with you…….Kathy

(Quote:  Age 20- The Complete Live and Learn and Pass It On, by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.)

Déjà vu All Over Again!

When you are sharing your life with someone who has dementia, it can feel a bit like you are stuck in a scene from the movie Groundhog Day.  And when you are repeating an activity or conversation that you have had, what feels like, a million times before, it can leave you feeling frustrated at times.

Intellectually, we can tell ourselves that it is the dementia and remind ourselves that he simply does not remember.  While we understand that in our heads, it becomes a bit harder to hold on to that thought when you are repeating something for the 100th time.  It does start to wear and sometimes even finds that last nerve.  After all, we are human.

I try to look at repeat conversations with my father as low pressure interactions.  What I mean is that we don’t have to come up with something new to talk about each time that we interact.  And since Dad and I haven’t been on the same conversational plane for years, in some ways it is easier that way.  We can even joke about how nice the forgetting is in that way.

One common theme for me and my Dad is when he tries to stand up from a chair.  He has lost his strength and sense of balance, so this proves to be a challenge for him.  Each time that I am with him I will gently remind him to scoot to the edge of his seat and push up on the arms of the chair (rather than just trying to lever himself up by leaning way forward).  He will say something like, “I guess that would be better,” and then may or may not heed the advice.

The last time we were all together visiting, he chose not to take the advice.  He struggled for a while and then said, “Well, usually somebody will offer to help me by now!”  So I asked him if he would like my help to which he responded, “No!”  After he continued to struggle, I went over, physically assisted him up and got him steady with his walker.  He did feel the need at that point to tell me that my assistance really had not helped.  (This is my father now….revisit my post ‘Grumpy Old Man’).

Though the interactions are repeats and my father is never gracious, I will continue to help him.  I will continue to have the same conversations with him, hold his hand and listen to him complain.  I will love him just as he loved me when I was an obnoxious kid (I must have been since all kids are at times).  I’ll answer the same questions just like he did when I was in my Why?-kid-asking stage.  I’ll hold his hand or arm to help him stay balanced while he walks just like he held my hand while I was learning to walk.

And though he is a grumpy old man, I will do my best to remember the good times that we did have as I was growing up.  I will continue to be grateful for all of the opportunities that he provided to me.  And I will love him compassionately, because I know that he really does love me.

On the journey with you…….Kathy

Things We Learn….(about love…)

‘I’ve learned that when I am feeling terribly unloved by someone, I need to ask myself what I’ve done recently to love them.’

This really speaks to the ‘what goes around comes around’ philosophy.  How often have you treated someone you love just a little meanly because you are having a bad day?  And then have the audacity to feel hurt (or angry) when it comes back at you?  We all do it.  It seems sometimes that we treat the ones we love most, the worst!  Is it because we know that they will continue to love us anyway?  And if so, what kind of an excuse is that?

I have truly come to believe that what you put out to the world is what you will get back in return from it.  If you are allowing love and kindness to guide your interactions with others, then I am willing to bet that it is love and kindness that you receive back.

If, on the other hand, you interact with the world from a place of fear and anger, feeling victimized by how life is treating you, then that is what you are likely to receive back from the world (and thereby fuel your fear and anger!).

What if we all started to pay more attention to giving the ones we love something that makes them feel loved?  How would things change in your family?  How would your expressions of love change the lives of not only others in your family, but you as well?

One thing that was important to me in raising my children was making sure that they knew, without a doubt, that they were loved.  They heard it daily.  They heard it when they left for school each day and before they went to bed.  They heard it when I was proud of them.  They also heard it when they did something that disappointed me or when they got themselves in trouble (and it is in those troubled times that kids really learn what love is…..).

So, what will you do today to make someone in your life feel loved?

On the journey with you…….Kathy

(Quote:  Age 29- The Complete Live and Learn and Pass It On, by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.)