I have worked with many caregivers over the years. I recall many stories about caregiving mishaps and caregiver successes. Each tale is different but yet the same. No matter what the story is or how the story is told, it will always be a help to the next caregiver. We all will be a caregiver at some point of time in our life. Experiences from other caregivers will be a great resource. Every story is important and each person should be allowed to share their caregiving story.
I recall one story that really made an impression on me. It starts with the wedding day of a granddaughter. The mother of the young lady cared for her mother. Her mother lived with Alzheimer’s disease. The mother of the bride knew it would be a challenge to get her mother to the wedding. As a matter of fact the whole family knew it was going to be a challenge. Needless to say the mother and the granddaughter wanted to make sure their precious elder was present for this very special day. The daughter laid her mother’s clothes out on the bed so neatly. Everything was in place her dress, her hose, her shoes and her jewelry. The time to get dressed grew near. The plan was for the mother and grandmother to arrive at the church later. The mother of the bride said to her mother “Mom, it’s time to get ready for the wedding. I have everything laid out for you, I will wait for you, just take your time.”
After sometime had passed, out came her mother. She was not wearing what had been laid out on her bed previously that was so perfect. But she was dressed, and boy was she dressed! She decided she would wear her most colorful dress with her most colorful accessories including scarves and of course comfortable bedroom shoes. Nothing she was wearing matched. What did her daughter say? What would you have said? Well the daughter said, “Mom, you look wonderful.”
On the way to the church the mother called her daughter, the bride-to-be, and informed her that her grandmother looked very colorful and to prepare herself. The grandmother did not have on the perfect outfit, but she did make the day perfect and memorable. She was happy and she made everybody else happy, especially her granddaughter. It would have been sad for her not to be present for this very special day. What memories they will share when they look back in the wedding album. What a story to tell.
I guess what made such an impression on me about this story is to truly know what the really important things in life are. Sometimes the most imperfect times are the most perfect times, especially when you are living with Alzheimer’s disease. The most important things in life are not things nor is it perfect times, but simply time. Remember to focus on what your loved one can still do, not what they can no longer do. Hope you have a “Best Day Ever”.
Lesia Henderson is a Positive Approach to Care Independent Trainer and Sampson County Department of Aging Family Caregiver Support Specialist.