I find it helpful when people take the time to share what they like about various products that I’m thinking about purchasing. I hope this reblog will be helpful for a fellow caregiver seeking to make purchases which will help them on their caregiving journey.
I’m on the other side of caregiving now and am looking back on that experience and wanting to share a few of the most helpful purchases my husband and I made to assist us as we provided care for my mother.
Mattress Protection and plenty of bedding – nearly every person who struggles with memory loss will come to the point where incontinence is a fact of life. One of the best purchases I made was this mattress cover. We had a hospital bed, so purchased a Twin XL. This particular cover actually was waterproof and saved our mattress from certain ruin over and over again. It completely covered the mattress — trust me, this is important. I only needed to wipe it down with a disinfectant spray, but it also washed up nicely in the washing machine on warm. I would give it a tumble drying on air-dry…
No matter where the winding path of life may lead, I am kept by God.
I’m new this year to the growing club of Americans age 65+ who qualify for Social Security and Medicare. With the help of my husband and a good Medicare Supplement insurance agent, I’m resting easy in knowing my Medicare Supplement plan has been chosen, my account on my government’s Social Security website is set up (and I sort of understand it), and my first Social Security check has deposited into my bank account (boy, am I glad I don’t have to live off of it!).
My wise hubby (financially and otherwise) has been so very helpful during the entire decision-making process. I’m very thankful for Wayne’s guidance in navigating what would have otherwise been a very confusing pathway. I learned something from him yesterday when he informed me that next year my Social Security check will be slightly larger because my Medicare premium will be slightly lower. Sounded like good news to me, but he told me that’s not the whole story. It seems that there have been second thoughts by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) related to providing coverage for Alzheimer’s related pharmaceuticals. I found an article on Forbes which explains this news a bit and am including a link to that article here. You might also find my husband’s blog to be chock-full of wisdom, financial and otherwise.
This news is a bit concerning for someone like me who is genetically at a higher risk for developing Alzheimer’s in my lifetime due to close family history. Thankfully, I know that I am always in God’s care. No matter what physical trials I may face in my future, He is the One who helps me and keeps me. Psalm 121 reminds me that I have nothing to fear.
Psalm 121 – My Help Comes from the Lord
A Song of Ascents.
I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? 2 My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. 4 Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. 6 The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. 8 The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.
A conversation with a caregiver yesterday brought this previous blog post to mind. I’m reposting it here just in case someone else can learn by my example and my own life-lessons. God bless all of you dementia caregivers out there.
Lest anyone who regularly visits ‘Barefoot Lily Lady’ think that I’m living in an Alzheimer’s caregiving utopia where we are always sweet to one another and I always execute Pinterest-worthy caregiving ideas at every opportunity, let me share a slice of reality.
If you had a little window into our world, yesterday wasn’t pretty. And today I wasn’t exactly setting the best example either.
The fact is, I make mistakes in caring for her daily.
Let me confess that I am sometimes not very kind and respectful in my dealings with her – especially in the wee hours of the morning or after a night (or several nights) with little to no sleep.
Right now, as I am composing this post, I am viewing her via the camera in her room and she is ripping her blanket off the bed. I don’t think I have fingers and toes left to…
Our curbside mailbox is surrounded by a cute little flowerbed. It somehow survives the piles of snow heaped upon it by the snowplows every winter, shrugging off the melting snow’s road salt and sand.
It started as a little circle cutout around the mailbox, but this sliver of a garden expands a wee bit every five or six years to accommodate the flowers that always seem to find their way into my shopping cart at garden centers.
Tulips and daffodils usher in the first hint of spring, followed by petite ‘Blue Denim’ irises playing with grape hyacinth muscari at the garden’s edges.
A clematis scrambles up the back and over the top of the mailbox. Some years, by summer’s end, its purplicious beauty threatens to swallow the mailbox whole.
There are so many gorgeous flowers tucked into that tiny mailbox bed which cause those passing by to pause and enjoy. This time of year, however, Peony ‘Gold Standard’ is the hands-down show-stopper of the front yard. My hubby captured a few photos in morning’s light.
Mid-summer’s splendored thing will be the daylily. Well, daylilies plural. They’re a favorite flower of mine that always seem to make themselves at home in all but the shadiest flowerbeds.
Even as my sweet mother’s memory slowly fades, one thing remains strongly present. Her faith in Jesus. Many times during the day (and night), I will hear her pray, “Jesus, help me.” She prays it as she walks from her bed to the bathroom, or as she tries to get her knees to cooperate with her as she travels from the kitchen back to her bed.
I had lunch with a dear friend today. My heart is richly blessed for having spent time with Maureen. It was fun catching up on what was going on in each of our lives since we last saw one another. We’ve both had ups and downs, both thoroughly enjoy spending time with our kids and grandkids (but wish we could have more time with them). Last time Maureen and I caught up with one another, the sting of death was still fresh in my heart, having lost my mother to Alzheimer’s during that year. Now, it was my friend’s turn to say goodbye to her mother under similar circumstances in this past year. We talked a little bit about being in a new season of life — a season which may hold challenges, health and otherwise, but new opportunities for growth in Christ too. Our time on earth will pass before we know it; but, for the present, God is not finished with us yet.
Only one life, so soon will pass. Only what’s done for Christ will last.
I am fondly remembering when my children were small. So much energy and love went into making sure they were dressed, well fed, clean and safe. I mothered my children back in the days before baby monitors and wifi cameras helped monitor the safety of a sleeping child. I remember hesitating to even walk outside into the backyard to hang my laundry on the clothesline to dry, always wanting to be within listening distance of my sleeping babies.
Mealtimes with my little ones could be fun but, if I turned my back for an instant in our teeny-tiny kitchen, one of my children could spread his meal all over himself and the floor beneath before I could count to three. The other child made highchair sitting into a baby Olympic event going from being seated in her highchair to standing on the tray in record time.
A newer resident at the assisted living memory care home where I work said something today which reminded me of a sweet memory of my mom. I’ll call the sweet lady ‘Lillian’, so as to shield her true identity. As I walked in the building Lillian’s face visibly brightened. With wide-eyed amazement, she greeted me and exclaimed, “Oh, you’re here, Grandma!” As I got a little closer to her, with a deflated note of disappointment in her voice, Lillian murmured, “Oh, you’re not my grandma, are you?” To which I replied, “No, I’m your new friend Cindie and I just have one of those familiar faces that reminds people of someone else.” Lillian pondered my face for a few seconds and then said, “Yes, your face is kind. Just like my grandma’s.”
Oh, my. That warmed my heart. I spent a few more minutes chatting with my new friend Lillian, then went about my work, with memories of my own sweet momma on my mind. In the later years of Mom’s life with Alzheimer’s, in her mind, I was rarely her daughter. Sometimes I got to be her sister, her mother, or her friend. I’d like to share one of those memories with you . . .
Lately, my sweet mother has been more than a bit confused about her living accommodations, referring to our home as “this facility” and “this place.” Not long ago, she swept her hand out in gesture as if encompassing her living space and said, “Are you the one in charge of this place?” I told her yes it was our home and that Wayne and I both welcome her to live here. “Oh,” she replied, “are my meals and laundry included?” I assured her that they were. To which she replied, “Well, they haven’t fed me all day, and I think they’re stealing my laundry. I can’t find it anywhere.”
Not long ago, she was telling Wayne that “someone who works here” had given her some pills. She wasn’t sure who it was, but figured they knew what they were doing, so she took them. It was Tylenol, and it was…
It’s Christmas Eve. My church family is gathering this very hour to celebrate God’s Indescribable Gift by candlelight. I love the Christmas Eve service and am a bit saddened that I can only join my church family via “livestream.” While I appreciate having this option, it’s definitely not the same as being there.
Last year’s Christmas Eve service is etched deep within my heart. Our family all gathered together sitting in the pew beside Wayne and I remembering the giving of the Indescribable Gift with the birth of our Savior.
My favorite part of the service is a tradition that comes right at the end. Our whole church family gathers around the outer edge of the dimly lit sanctuary, the darkness of which is softened by the glow of a few decorative candles. Each one of us holds a single unlit candle while we sing a beautiful carol. Our pastor lights his candle. Then he lights the candle of those on either side of him. Each individual passing the light of their one candle to another, then that candle lights the next. The sanctuary becoming increasingly brightened by the shared light until we are all basking in the warm glow of candlelight, beautifully symbolizing sharing the Light of the World with one another.
With our granddaughters standing between us with their beautiful faces aglow in soft candlelight, Wayne and I listen to them lift their sweet voices in praise to their Savior. This passing of the candlelight perfectly symbolizes the passing of faith to the next generation.
This year our children are celebrating Christmas Eve with their families elsewhere. My dear mother is not up to venturing out on this mild wintry eve of Christmas. Alzheimer’s has stripped mom of her desire to do things socially, so the three of us are quietly celebrating here at her apartment. Together, we will enjoy a home-cooked meal followed by watching a favorite Hallmark Christmas movie.
I must confess that my mind is awhirl with questions and a few uncertainties tonight. I look at mom and wonder just how many more Christmases we will celebrate together. Will this be her last Christmas with us? Will she celebrate her next Christmas in heaven, a gift she truly desires? If not, will she know who I am next Christmas? Will she be able to stay in her apartment another year, or will this next year bring more difficulties and change?
But, even in the midst of my wondering and pondering heart this year, there is a quiet inner joy. Joy in knowing Christ – the Indescribable Gift. Joy in having a husband who has also received the same Gift. Joy in knowing my mother and father each received the Gift by faith as well. Joy in the knowledge that my children and their spouses have each received that most precious Gift. Joy in the realization that one by one, our grandchildren are receiving this Indescribable Gift by faith too.
The symbolic candle lighting candle brings sweet joy as we are reminded that each of us has received this Indescribable Gift because someone shared it with us.
Alas, today’s snow flurries and nippy temperatures are just a foretaste of what is yet to come. My gardening checklist has quite a few tasks yet to complete in order to finish preparing my flowerbeds for winter’s sleep. How can it be mid-November already? It seems only yesterday that I was happily plodding barefoot through my gardens, planting this, transplanting that, and digging out weeds, and muttering under my breath at the voracious bunnies who happily brought their family and friends to my flowerbed buffet.
It also seems that not long ago I took a wrongturn detour and found myself driving down a street on which I had never traveled and found myself in an older section of town in what appeared to be an industrial park. Upon making a Y-turn to head back to the known route, I spied a sign to a public garden tucked in a messy-but-pretty flowerbed between what looked like two warehouses.
It was a beautiful summer afternoon, so I parked my car at the curb and accepted the sign’s invitation to wander down a footpath toward what looked like the garden’s entrance. Native plants seemed to hum with busy bees and butterflies. Flowers criss-crossed and lapped over the edges of the ungroomed pathway. The busy bees didn’t seem to mind my presence, so I carefully ventured further down the winding path, and there I found a hidden slice of peaceful beauty to explore.
I invite you to wander its pathways with me, courtesy of a few photos I snapped as I walked and explored.
Upon crossing this rustic footbridge, I entered the most enchanting prairie.
Flowers lured me in to wander pathways, and God’s creation beckoned me to praise Him.
I’ll be back…
I am joining (last minute on a Thursday) the Five Minute Friday writing community for a little writing adventure hosted by Kate Motaung. This week’s writing prompt is, “Wander.”