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Top 10 Things Learned On The Journey With My Mother

Top 10 Things Learned

On The Journey With My Mother

In Honor of Bessie Eveyln Morgan Baldwin – Little Mama

5/1/1921 – 12/4/2013

#1. LEGAL STUFF:  be prepared. It is hard, but being prepared and having a plan is required to provide best decisions for their care and protection.  The day will come when you know you must think of final arrangements and honoring your loved ones wishes. Be prepared.

#2. GUILT:  Care Warriors, ban this word from your life. If you are on the front lines of this war whether your loved one is home cared or in a care facility, you are a care warrior. Decisions made from a heart full of love are good decisions. Only you know what is best for your loved one, your family and for YOU! Guilt has absolutely no place in a care warrior’s journey.

#3. UTI’s:  Almost a certainty.  Pedialyte:  little mama had one minor UTI in 6 years; we gave it to her 1/2 to 1/2 juice 3x a day.  It balances electrolytes and helps with overall hydration.

#4. PLACEMENT:  Trust your instincts: care warriors know when it is time – sometimes we know it is time and because of #2 we hesitate. Do not hesitate.

#5. FIBLETS: I outright lied to Little Mama. I even wrote fake prescriptions to make her accept care sitters and to take showers. I made up a fake form from her favorite doctor and it said – To the children of: ________________ Bessie must not be left alone at any time. She must also take a shower at least 3x a week. If you are unable to make these things happen, I will have to step in and find a care facility that can take better care of her.” That worked during the feisty stages.

#6. LOUD:  when seeking BEST care for a loved one, be as loud as it takes for as long as it takes. Too often there you will find a scary lack of knowledge among medical professionals about dementia diseases.

#7. KIND:  be especially kind to YOU! We already know how kind you are to loved ones.

#8. HELP/RESPITE:  if it is available, ASK!! If it is not available, do not take any guff off of anyone not actively engaged in the war (this is part of being kind to yourself). #2 is important here, too.

#9. HOSPICE:  Do not wait – trust your instincts.  If your loved ones are eligible for Medicare, please ask primary care physician to order a hospice review/or call them yourself. Earth angels. If accepted, no more ER trips – medical staff comes to you and Medicare pays! And they provide personal hygiene 3x a week!!!

#10. LOVE: I admire you all so much. There is nothing easy about this journey and I know you all are here because of love. Love. It is the strongest word. Blessings on your heads.

A Big Thanks to Diane for sharing her life with all of us.

By – Diane Elinor Baldwin Hoover, ElderofFive

Care Warrior for Little Mama 2005 – 2013

Administrator, Memory People™, Inc

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Caring For Caregivers

Caring For Caregivers

By: Michelle Remold

What about the caregiver? It seems like when people are having a conversation about Alzheimer’s or dementia, the focus is on the care of the person with the disease. But what about caring for the caregiver? It is clear to me that caregiving can be a very stressful, time-consuming, and sometimes a thankless job.

What about the emotional toll the disease takes on the caregiver? I often think about how hard it is to see someone you love be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and then to have to watch them slowly get worse to the point of not knowing you.

What about the physical toll the disease takes on the caregiver? Caregiving can be a 24/7 job. There is no down time for the caregiver. While there are services like respite or home health available to caregivers, they might not always be well-known or within reach.

What about the social toll the disease takes on the caregiver? Caregivers need social support from friends, family, and coworkers as well. Unfortunately, people seem to not be around as much or to shy away from those who are coping with the disease.

I think that sometimes caregivers can be overlooked. Caregivers need support and need to be ‘cared’ for as well. It might be just a meal made, a friend to talk to, or providing support where needed, but no matter what type of support it will be appreciated more than anyone can imagine.

???????????????????????????????Michelle graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with her Bachelor of Arts in Gerontology: Social Sciences and a minor in Family Studies.  She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Aging Studies and Nursing Home Administration from Minnesota State University Mankato.

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