Thursday, April 1, 2010

Counting the Cost of Caregiving

So you are considering caring for a parent or a grandparent in your home... The Bible tells us to *"count the cost" of any major decision. Therefore, I have a few things I'd like to share with you followed by a little story from my own experience.

Have you always gotten along well with this person? If so, having this loved one come to your home may work very well; if not, your chances of success are less than a snowball's in Haiti.

Are you able to empathize with this person's loss of autonomy? If you can place yourself in his or her shoes, it will help you understand why s/he clings to control or why s/he is experiencing depression, both of which are very common in the elderly.

Speaking of clinging to control, when the chips are down, are you able to speak firmly into this person's life? Can you say when a bath must be taken or when a walker must be used or any one of a number of musts? If you couldn't possibly, you will soon find yourself run over by an elderly loved one who is trying to remain in control to the detriment of his or her own health, not to mention yours.

Is your home safe? By that I mean, are there scatter rugs about? Are light switches easily accessible? Are the floors level? Are there cats that scratch? Dogs that jump? Is there room to pass in the hall? If there are any concerns about your home, carefully consider what having an invalid there will mean.

Also, are there at least two bathrooms in the home? If not, it's important to know that one's own health is put at risk when one must regularly wait for bathroom time as will often prove necessary with an elderly person in residence.

What about the dietary needs of the individual? Are you willing to prepare multiple meals to satisfy the needs or even whims of your guest?

What about the extra work load that a guest requires? The laundry, the cleaning, the personal care requirements? Can you take care of another's most personal care needs? Can you give another person a bath? Can you clean another's dentures? Can you do this for your own ______?

Can you communicate clearly with doctors, lawyers, the IRA, Medicare, Social Security, etc., and so on?

Are you willing to give up personal time? Are you willing to give up music or that your guest finds upsetting? In my own circumstance, I have given up seeing my grandchildren as often as I'd like as my loved one finds them "too loud and boisterous" and I must be careful with music.

If you've answered yes to these questions, you may well be a candidate to step in as a personal caregiver for someone you love. If you've answered no, this is a good way of sorting out what kind of commitment you are willing to take on.

Caring for an elderly relative can be extremely rewarding, even when the elderly relative/friend doesn't seem to appreciate much of what is done for him or her. If your source of strength comes from the Lord and you need no personal recognition, not even a thank you, you will be better off for it. If you are leaning on the Lord and allowing Him to lead, together you may be able to see your loved one safely home (from this world to the next) without any appreciable time being spent in a nursing care facility. It is my prayer...

*Luke 14:28–30


As I pushed my grandmother into the examining room, the nurse asked me a bit under her breath, "How are you?"

I grinned at her as best I could and said, "One of us needs a pill. Perhaps it's me."

It had been the worst possible of days. Nan has begun to wander and she has already fallen three times. She hears water running in the night and can't believe that I am so careless as to leave the water on so she must go check. She hears music and can't believe that I am so careless as to leave the computer on or the radio on or the tv on and must go check. It's never her problem; it's always mine.

Trying to explain that she is scaring me to death is like trying to explain the theory of relativity to her. She waves her hand and says, "pah!"

The doctor does a cognitive test that my grandmother passes with flying colors. It includes writing, drawing, remembering things in series, and spelling forwards and backwards. I had no idea that my little nana could spell "toward" backwards. Goodness, I'm not sure that I could. In the end, the doctor says that her mind is very good. "I know that," she states emphatically.

"Then you are wandering about knowing full well what you're doing?" the doctor asks gently.


Wonder why I'm sitting here with a five-page information sheet on Alzheimer's with her name on the top that begins...

"A common difficult behavior associated with AD is wandering..."

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Results of My Commenting Experiment

The good news is in! (Almost that is, as of this post, 9 hours remain.) Nary anyone who took my little poll feels that a commenter who continues to comment without any encouragement is a stalker. So there to whoever it was that said that they were! (I read it from the "help" site on Blogger, but haven't been able to find it again.) Thank you so much to each and every one who voted. It's much appreciated and helps to be more representative than the first ten votes that hung on for several days.

As per usual, the best thing about this experiment was reading all the comments. Ironic, eh? I so appreciated the insight behind them. Some commenters seemed confused as if they might be saying, "Why rock this lovely boat?" Others made suggestions that helped me think my way through as Dawn did when she offered this advice: Do what makes you feel lovely.

Recently, I read an excellent article about making blog comments. This writer gave some to-the-point tips. I found that I was guilty of these things when making comments:

1. I don't always stay on topic
2. I can come across as a know-it-all (Poor Judy! I blamed her blog when Blogger went down Monday then had the added nerve to suggest that she fill Lovella in. How embarrassing!)
3. I've not always recognized the line between when to comment and when it would be better to email
4. I've been too long-winded
5. And there's more so keep reading...

Of course, I know how to check site meter to decide what the traffic patterns are...that's not the point. The point was, if I stopped commenting all over Blogdom Come would I have any company or comments? Originally, I thought less, and that has proven true, but not to the extent that I thought. Is it even important to comment or have commenters in the first place? For me that's a no-brainer. Yes!

(For Donna, as far as I know there is precious little connection between the numbers that site meter provides for us and the number of comments. One blogger friend shares that she gets about a third the number of comments as visitors. My numbers are even worse. I get about a tenth of the number of comments as visitors. Whether it says something about "approachability" or whether it's a calculated thing — that person has "enough comments" I don't know. All I can say is that I have experienced both as I visit another's blog. This I do know, I have not begun to explore the depth and complexity of this issue.)

When one has a little blog, one often does a lot of visiting to put oneself "out there" to begin to make those connections with other bloggers. It's been great fun; I've learned so much; I've met so many nice people; and I am now officially on overload.

So what's next for me? Probably I'm going back to blogging as a type of journal to chronicle my life responding mainly to those who respond to me. This makes me sad for this reason: I do not want to hurt my blogging buddies. And still I know that not hearing from me every post is not going to be any big deal. It just isn't. We'll all roll... In the meantime, I shall be hoping that this is a temporary thing and that, by the time I get back to commenting daily, Blogger will have made some changes.

I'll sum it all up this way. Things need to change for me. I am not suggesting that things need to change for you. We've all seen the badges that say "Blogging Without Obligation." I've made one for myself that says "Blogging and Commenting Without Obligation." I will let this be my blogging philosophy and I will allow it to be yours, too, whether or not you say so. I promise. No more circling around like one of my backyard turkey vultures waiting for a blogger to show up. (I'm sorry about that, Suzanne.) We have very different lives and putting pressure on anyone just isn't cool. As you can see below, I've been guilty.

And things need to change because, sadly, Blogland has changed. It used to be that one didn't need word verifications for comments. Now we've all seen what spammers do. This makes me fervently wish for a spam blocker for Blogger such as Askimet, which only works for WordPress.

Some have shared that they don't understand my intense dislike for word verification. When commenting as much as I was, it wouldn't take you long to develop some intense dislike for it, too. The process definitely slows down exponentially the more blogs one visits. There has to be a better way. Perhaps Blogger is listening. Other than that, may I humbly suggest that each blogger find the best way for her commenters to respond to her posts. Use your own system and see if it's a one-step, two-step or *gasp* three-step process. You might also wish to test your blog's load time using Stopwatch.

In the end, the best advice I can leave you is Dawn's...Do what makes you feel lovely. Until we meet over the fence, go and create a delicious day!


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

An Evening Out

An evening out sounds grand. And it was! An evening, all 47 minutes of it, with the grands. What with our being sick and their being sick, we hadn't seen each other in too long. So with treats stashed in my purse, I was off. (Thanks to Carol for a great idea!)

The "carrot" treats confused the littlest grand all to pieces. Jake just couldn't make a connection between carrots and cheese puffs. The older thought they were funny.

And in the end, I came home with a treat. It's not in the fridge, but on it and signed by the artist, too.

So that's my first coloring book page from a grand. I also received an "I love you, too" that warmed my heart; although, I may have tried to push it too far because after another request for a kiss, Sam looked at his mother and said, "You kiss her." Cheeky little bugger!


Look for my final thoughts for a while on comments and commenting tomorrow. And a collective cheer arose in Blogdom... Edited to add: I see that Blogger is naughty again today making commenting too much of a time waster. Hope to get back to visiting when things improve.

My hubby bought me a biography of E.B. White so I'm planning to curl up and read as much of this rainy, cold day away as possible. Enjoy your day, too!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Tiny Homes

O, to have a little house!
To own the hearth and stool and all!

~Padraic Colum

I'm dreaming of a little house about this size.

*** Just a reminder about the poll going on to the right and a thank you to all who have already voted!

Edited to Add: Ohhhhhh, so Blogger is the one responsible. No surprise! If my dear readers will follow the source, all will be revealed. ;>

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Palm Sunday

For a wonderful Palm Sunday reading, I'm referring you to My Letters to Emily and specifically to this post titled Ain't No Rock!

Today, I'm not sharing about the praise of Palm Sunday, but rather about the scars of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.

Do you remember Farrell and Farrell? They were (and are) a married couple who were popular in the 1980s, away back when I was a young wife and mother. Recently, Linds wrote the post that rattled my memory and what did I remember? The faint melody of a song playing on the stereo as my children played on the kitchen floor. It made me a little sad as if I could see myself beyond myself back in that house, younger, and having no trouble identifying with that song. I felt my heartache from that time and I felt my heartache in my current circumstances. (Yes, I've always been a titch of an Eeyore.) Linds' post is called A Grilled Grandma and a Patchwork Heart...
If you read Linds' post and the lyrics of the remembered song, perhaps you'll see why such a long-ago memory was stirred and how timely it has proven to be.

Our minor sufferings are nothing compared to what the Lord endured for us, but they mean something to Him all the same. It's why He came in the first place. We are hurt and needing a healer. He is our healer. He is our everything.


I hurt when I think of the things that He suffered
The way in which He died
Wounds taken in my place — inflicted upon Him
Sweet Son of the Most High

Death were you so sure when you silenced the Master
Yet where is your sting? The garden tomb is so empty

He stole your trophy away when He opened His eyes

See those scars — precious scars
How they prove what the Saviour went thru

Do you love those old scars
For the strength they bring to you
Reminders that suffering is part of His plan for you

Got some of my own scars — some hurt to remember
Those emblems of old pain
Though everyone has them I sometimes want to hide them
When they go to aching

But pain is a tool in the hands of the surgeon
And to share in His love I must share in His suffering

And if scars were all that I had — I'd do it all just the same

See those scars — precious scars
Proof of battles He brought you thru

Learn to love those old scars
For the strength they bring to you
Reminders that wounds are a part of His plan for you
Reminders that healing is a part of His plan for you

Music and Lyrics by
Bob Farrell

This You Tube does not feature the song "Scars." Rather, "I Couldn't Live Without You" is lighter, but with another profound message that's still working for me today. Gotta get a cd!

Blessings to you this Palm Sunday morning!

As always, comments are off for Sunday.