Lessons Learned: One man’s journey as an Alzheimer’s caregiver
- Published: 24 February 2016
I took other steps to make Jeanne’s life easier. I made up several index cards on which I printed “Pride, Dignity & Independence.” These were posted in every room of the house to remind Jeanne what she is entitled to, and to let others know what is expected of them.
I put signs on each drawer and cabinet to let her know what was inside. Each evening, before we went to bed, I would bring out two outfits and ask her to decide what she wanted to wear the next day. I bought an easy TV remote that only had six buttons on it. In large lettering, it said, “On, Off, Volume up or down, Channel up or down.” It worked briefly before she began trying to use it to make phone calls.
I added a second phone line and got a post office box so all important calls and bills wouldn’t get lost. I got her a digital watch because an analog watch became too confusing. I had a huge calendar taped to the fridge listing all activities coming. Those people who came to see her added their next appointment to the calendar.
I added grab bars next to the toilet and in and out of the bathtub, a shower seat, and railings going up the front stairs. She developed bladder incontinence. I “reminded” her that she wanted to wear Dignity pads and had a chock pad under the sheet on her side of the bed, as well as having a bedside commode.
I didn’t worry about her leaving the stove on because she stopped cooking. I also had no concern about her wandering from the home because we had a very steep driveway, and she had difficulty walking outside without assistance.
I researched which vitamins and supplements might help her and reviewed them with her doctor. She insisted on filling her own medicine tray, so I had various used prescription bottles filled with extra vitamins. She read the labels and filled her own tray. Later I would empty the tray and refill the bottles. Then I would fill her matching med tray.
I had our wills drawn up; I became power-of-attorney and health care proxy. I had the house placed in my name only, using the Homestead Act.
I began seeing a psychotherapist who helped me maintain a semblance of sanity.
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