Spoke to my mother the other morning. My father has Alzheimer and Emphysema, he has been rather stable with his health recently. Which is fabulous news. Still has some moments of not being 100%.
A little background to our morning calls. I call my mum around 7:30 ish after I drop of my husband at work. We end up putting the world to rights and my mum’s sounding board at that time as I don’t live close by so it’s
the little bit I can do. So we have been having the similar conversations for a few months talking about dad, usually about how he slept, how confused he is or how he has been in general.
It had been rather positives for the last few weeks since his last bout in hospital, staying awake, trying new foods and just generally good but mum has been finding the change a little hard. She was feeling she missed he ‘quiet time’ this is when she would settle him for bed and then spend time by herself catching up on tv (things dad just did not like) so binge watching of hollyoaks (her favourite) and just doing what she wants knowing dad is safe in bed.
Mum is having to adapt and she is doing well but feels that things are not allowing her to regenerate her batteries for he next day. It got me thinking of the amount of change that happens within carers having to adapt sometimes on a daily basis. How a simple I don’t want that (cornflake/shreddies saga) can bring the tears for the carer. Or how just a change in routine can impact. My mother however, as much as the shreddies incident (funny now) upset her she is taking on the challenges and adapting the routine with help from suggestions by the family. She is aware that maybe next month he won’t be as well or tomorrow he could be not so great. So she grabs the good days.
So everyone who is caring for someone please grab the good days with both hands, pack it out with all the things on the other days you could not do or they would not do. Use the days to encourage getting out, watching a film, having a shower, eating a great meal as there will be days that the person may not want to do any of this.
Mum initially said ‘I sound so selfish’ (this woman is far from selfish). My mother is an inspiration, she is hilarious, embarrassing but mostly she just loves my dad and she is trying to ensure she can look after him. So she needs the ‘quiet time’, she needs a sounding board.
So if you know someone who is a carer be that sounding board, understand they don’t have time for your woes, be there to listen to theirs. Know that this morning they may need to scream, cry or laugh. Notice those signs of tiredness and frustration they may just need you to put the kettle on if your visiting rather then then making for you, they actually may need you to wash the dishes. If the house looks a bit untidy hey offer help. In fact just do it. Do not expect them to have time to listen to your worries (they have enough).
Just take a moment. Breathe.