Dementia, Notes to Remember

By Lesia R. Henderson - Contributing columnist
Henderson -

Caregivers, you are amazing! You give care with love and patience. You are needed and you are important. Your time is spent tending to the needs of your loved one, and little time is left for you. You give of your time and energy with great strength, at the end of each day you feel depleted of both.

You appear at times that you have it all together; and at times you appear to be falling apart. But you continue with this caregiving role, hold your head up and keep on keeping on! Your loved one talks to you with words you could never imagine that was in their vocabulary. Your sweet little mother or father, or your wonderful wife or maybe your favorite uncle; people you have never heard speak a harsh word in your life, is now speaking rudely and cursing up a storm. They may even spat out racial slurs or sex talk!

They may look at you with a blank stare and ask, “Who do you think you are?” They continue to do odd things, like forgetting where the bathroom is, in the house they have spent most of their lives, seeing people that are not there, wanting to go home, but in their home, etc. There are times you may want to give up, just throw your hands up and give up! But you don’t, you keep are giving! You look at your loved one and see they are the same person but different. You look at your loved one and remember that once could do any and everything, but now that can no longer do those things. Caregivers remember your loved one is doing the best they can do. Focus on what they can still do and not on what they can no longer do. Caregivers you are amazing, you truly are.

I would like to share a poem that hangs on the wall at the Sampson County Department of Aging. The name of this poem is “A Caregiver’s Prayer”.

“Lord, show me the strength within me because I am very tired, Show me patience to care for the one I love, Show me peace of mind as I struggle through each day and night, Show me the joy in the little things my loved one does to help me out, Show me love when anger wants to take over my thoughts, Show me compassion when my loved one becomes frustrated, Show me hope when I can see no hope, And Lord, Show me kindness for those who care about me. Amen.”

This poem was written by Scott Warehouse. I really did not pay close attention to this poem until one day I was looking for something and happen to view it closer. I trust you will enjoy it and hope it brings you comfort.

Caregivers take time for yourself, you will be a better caregiver when you do this. Remember to mark your calendar for the Dementia Education and Alzheimer’s Support Group meeting the second Tuesday of each month at 2 p.m. Also mark your calendar for Tuesday, May 30, from 10:30-11:30 a.m. for our “Laughter Therapy Workshop”. Lisa Levine with Alzheimer’s of North Carolina will be presenting this workshop at the Bellamy Center. It’s a lot of fun and full of laughter. There is not charge to attend. So come and laugh with me.

Remember, Caregivers you are important, you are loved, you are amazing and you are special. Hope you have a “Best Day Ever”!

Caregivers are so important

By Lesia R. Henderson

Contributing columnist