Alzheimer’s: It’s not “a walk in the park”

a walk in the park

something that is very easy to do, and usually pleasant: 
He’s used to hard physical work – this is a walk in the park to him. (Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary and Thesaurus)

Momma and I took a walk in the park at the end of my block today. Actually, I did the walking as I pushed her in a wheelchair through the park, around a little pond, past a Splash Pad play area, and home again. I tried to make it interesting as I pointed out various trees, flowers and critters along the way. Though she enjoyed it (especially seeing the children joyfully playing at the Splash Pad), the walk was peppered with worry and fretful questions.

“Why are we going for a walk?” I tried to tell her that my doctor wants me to get exercise. “Dr. Bennett says I can’t take care of others if I don’t take care of myself.”

That seemed to suffice for a few minutes. Then, again, “Why are we going for a walk?” quickly followed by, “Are you sure you will be able to get me back home?” I assured her I have lived here 18 years, that I knew this park well, and that I would be able to get her home safely.

Clutching her purse tightly in her lap, she warily greeted a passerby. From her wheelchair throne, she suddenly begins a frantic search of the space around her. “Where’s my walker? You know I need it for walking. I can’t afford to lose it!”

I hadn’t even reached the halfway point of our little excursion when, not unlike a toddler in the backseat of the car while traveling on vacation, she said with a whine,”Are we almost home?” More reassurance and further attempts at pointing out the sights later, now three doors down from my house, her brow furrows and she gets that lost look and almost cries, “I don’t see it yet, are you SURE you can find it?”

It tugs at my heart knowing that things which make the average person take a deep breath and relax make a person with Alzheimer’s experience such fear and anxiety. “A walk in the park” is definitely neither ‘easy’ or ‘pleasant’ with Alzheimer’s. I’m hoping that, with a bit of regularity, our walks will become more routine and comforting. (I can hope, can’t I?)

Meanwhile, I’ve purposed in my heart to take a daily walk, even if it’s just me while hubby hangs out with Momma. Because a walk in the park is still one of MY happy places. 

Author: barefootlilylady

Wife of one, mother of 2+2, and Grandma of 6 (3 girls and 3 boys!) and full-time caregiver for my sweet Momma with Alzheimer's. Passionate about Jesus, grandkids, Awana Clubs, gardens, quilts and cooking.

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