Monday, April 05, 2010

HI, I am Jaye, Just a mom.

Joe has invited me to be a guest poster on his great blog. I would like to say first I am HONORED. As someone who has come into this disease differently then most most you who read here. I am a caregiver in Memory Care at a community/facility. I had never been personally acquainted with anyone who was diagnosed with A/D. 2 years ago I got a job in the field, I was scared to death not knowing what to expect and quickly fell in love. I have been surrounded with many different stages of this horrible disease and have also learned to hate it. I am amazed with the human mind and just how much to does, and in this case does NOT do. I would like to say that those of you who keep your loved ones at home, YOU have a harder job then I do. I hope you have a large support group, it can get tough. I get to do my 8 hours and leave to go home and get on with my life, you do not. I, from the outside have watched people who I have become very close to loose to this thing. The people in charge try to tell us to not get attached, HOW can we NOT? They become my family, they depend on me to make sure they are safe,clean,secure,exercised both mentally and physically. I sometimes feel I am the only one who will sit and reassure a resident life is ok. It is heart breaking to watch my residents go from being a functioning person in their world to not being able to even eat or drink on their own. I am in no place to know about the medical terms I only know the results of them. In the last 2 years of my working with residents with A/D I have seen many different ages,genders,nationalities. This disease does not choose a certain kind. I learn what they once WERE and I am at times knocked on my butt with sadness at how not WHO they have become because of this. I see that they are still the same person on the inside almost trapped in a body that will not allow them to continue with their lives. I know it is at times very humiliating to them that I have to clean them, feed them, help them dress and even a little task of dressing is hard for them.

The stages I see are the beginning confusion,anger,fear. This is where to the outsider, these people get MEAN. All they need is a little time,, slow down that is my big advice. These people have done for themselves for many years. toileted,showered,dressed,brushed their teeth everything. Who are we the outsider telling them when,how they need to be doing these things. SLOW DOWN, DONT' RUSH THEM,be careful with your words. Don't say, YOU NEED TO DO,,,,,,,,,,, I have found the gentle,LET'S DO THIS OR CAN WE DO THAT. works so much better. Tone and Volume play a big roll here too. I truly believe this stage is the hardest to deal with. They can be sweet as pie and in a heart beat ready to KILL you. Trick here as I see it is keep your eyes open learn the triggers or the facial expressions and KNOW when it will happen as best as you can and head it off before it gets there. Turning them around after they have gone fully into a rage is very hard to do. I do NOT like medicating them as many seem to do. Take in every smooth time you can, THIS TOO SHALL PASS.

It then seems to slips into those who float through their day. We have what we call wanders/walkers who will NOT stop for the life of themselves. The seem to not be able to sit still EVER, not even to eat. I find finger foods work well at this point. So what if they drop crumbs on the floor, they are at least eating something.
There are those who seem to be going on with daily lives inside. They will go from room to room and pick up things that are not theirs and carry it to another room,setting it where they think it should belong. We find so many odd things where they should not be. Best thing to do it just smile, Does it really matter where it ended up? Frustrating but IF ya leave it long enough it just MIGHT end up back where it came from in the first place.

The end of life is the most heart wrenching of all,, I choose not to even go there with this .I will only say that for me I become attached to these people and my heart breaks almost as much as their families.

So for me the caregiver who get to bow out for a time I give ALL you who keep your loved ones at home with you and care fore them 24/7. YOU are the ones with the hard job, your hard work and love is what counts most.

Thank you again Joe for asking me to post on your amazing blog. Keep up your writing for as long as you can. I will keep coming back and read. You have given me yet ANOTHER view from the inside.
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