A Day in the Life of a Caregiver

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Today was an unexpected day of working with my "Tuesday" client. She's almost 96, and has Dementia. We get along famously - now don't read anything into that!

Today she was very weak, but we had a hilarious moment and a very sweet moment. Oh! And a scary moment.

Got her up around 11, and, as I said, she was very weak. She was resistant to have a shower, and responded to that information with her trademark "Ah, nuts." I love that, and somewhere in her memory she knows it. At the end of the shower I wrapped her in no fewer than 4 hot towels, and she was so happy. She loved that I gave her a shoulder massage through the towel around her shoulders. She said she would just sit there under those towels all day.

I got an outfit from her closet which was really bright and pretty. I'd never seen her wear it. She looked at it and said "I've never seen that before". Well, she's never seen anything before - with that goldfish memory of Dementia. I said it was well hidden in the back of the closet, and she'd most likely forgotten it was even there. "No, no... I just don't think I've seen it before. Are you sure it's mine?"
"I'm sure!"
"I don't know..."
"Yes, it's yours - just probably one you haven't worn for a while."
"I don't think it's mine."
I pulled it over her head and she put her arms into the sleeves. As her hand came out of the right sleeve, so did a huge wad of facial tissues.
"It's mine!" she announced, happily.

The outfit was a really nice fleece set in a beautiful purple. Perfect for this warmer than usual (45+ degrees) weather. She decided that she really wanted to go outside, a couple of hours after her first meal. Being weaker than usual, I suggested the wheelchair. No argument. Got her into the chair, propped open the back screen, and pulled her out the door. I did NOT want to accidentally let the cat out, so I pulled the door shut, securely. OH NO!!!!! Locked. I knew the front door was double bolted, too. I had no cell phone on me. It was 3pm - the other caregiver was not to arrive until close to 6.

"You locked us out, didn't you?" Oh my gosh.
"As a matter of fact, I did!"

Thankfully, I had opened the sliding glass door to the front deck, just to let in some of the fresh, warmish air. We were saved! What was amusing was how she went into Mother mode with me. "Lesson learned?" she asked. Oh yes. Lesson well learned.

We enjoyed going onto the front deck, which she never does, and looking over the spectacular view. This is where her bird feeder is. She's never been under the bird feeder. She looked down at the deck and saw the bird poop. "What's all that?" she asked.
"It's the little 'thank you' notes the birds left for you." I said. She laughed. I love it when she laughs.

Back inside, she decided to head to her recliner. I grabbed a soft throw from the couch, and popped it into the dryer. Got her in her chair, elevated her feet, and then ran to get the throw.

You should have seen the shock, and deep pleasure, when she felt that warm and extra soft blanket wrap all around her legs and cover her nearly up to her chin. She literally jumped a bit, and then let out a soft "Ohhhhhhhhh that's nice". I watched her sink deep under it and close her eyes.

Those are the moments that make my job so rewarding.

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Thanks for sharing, Ruth.

In a way I envy you just getting to focus on taking care of your lady. I'm the 24/7 cargiver for my husband and I have a million other things to do, too, like earn a living to support us. He was recently hospitalized and is getting a little extra home care services for a few weeks. An aide came to bathe him today. That allowed me to get in another hour of work (from home) and helps offset other extra care I'm giving hubby. But other than not being able to so everything myself, I like giving him a bath. Tonight our granddaughter is going to take him to massage appointment. He loves those appointments and I like taking him. But I can't do everything.

So I envy you a little. And I'm glad there are caregivers like you out there, making the world a little brighter for those who can't take care of themselves.
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