Sunday, April 24, 2016

More Changes and More Challenges

Last fall, I saw evidence of Jim's difficulties with spatial relationships. When we replaced our bedroom carpet last September , I distinctly remember my shock and dismay at his inability to comprehend the simplest of explanations (by the installer) of how the carpet would be cut around the built in dresser drawers in the walk-in-closet. Finally the installer turned to me and said "I'll let you explain it".

We are in the process of replacing our living room sofa, love seat and chairs. I know that this will create a number of high stress situations for him. If I could, I would simply hang on to what we have, but they are about a year past needing to be replaced. I'll spare all the painful details, but the OCD behavior kicked into overdrive, along with his difficulty in processing and understanding the measurements needed for ordering the furniture.

This, from a man who brilliantly designed and made furniture as a hobby when he was younger. He always had a superior sense of spatial relationships.

I have learned how to psychologically manipulate (I know that sounds like a terrible word) so that he accepts what I have to say. It helps to bring peace to the situation and avoids having a prolonged, painful discussion where the outcome is often not good for either of us. For example, when he was obsessing about how to determine the dimensions of the sofa, I turned the conversation around by praising him and giving him credit for figuring out the best way to measure. Then I stated the conclusion that he came to (that he really didn't!) was the right answer. It worked. He was content, and the sofa was correctly measured.

We built our house 11 years ago. At the time, the hope was that we could age in place. We designed it as a ranch style home, thinking it would help to minimize any barriers as we aged. Little did we know that our biggest threat  (at least at this point) would not be physical disabilities, but Jim's cognitive limitations.

It still feels good to write about this. It helps for me to put this in writing; kind of a substitute for psychological therapy!  For the few who are reading my blog, thanks for reading! I know that I get a lot of support from reading other blogs, and hopefully my blog will also help others to know that they are not alone.



14 comments:

  1. Read you loud and clear, Carole, and as always, appreciate very much your putting this out in writing.
    Jabberwalky08.wordpress.com

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Jan. It feels less lonely to know that others are walking the same path.

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  2. I was caretaker for my mother when she had dementia--the long good-bye is all too true a description. Just remember that you need to take care of yourself as well.

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    1. Thanks for your comment Olga. I really enjoy your blog!

      The long good-bye is an apt description. As a caretaker for you mother, you know only too well all that is involved in caring for a loved one with cognitive challenges.

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  3. Thank you so much for stopping by TNS and commenting. I so feel for your situation. Caregiver is the hardest job there is and I really like how you are so smart yet gentle with him. He got lucky when he married you.

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  4. Thank you so much for stopping by TNS and commenting. I so feel for your situation. Caregiver is the hardest job there is and I really like how you are so smart yet gentle with him. He got lucky when he married you.

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    1. Thanks for your comment Patti! I love your blog; you have a positive outlook on life. As you know, that can go along way to providing us with happiness in our later years.

      Caregiving is tough at times, but there are good times too and I try to focus on the good times. It helps me too, if I remember that he is the one suffering from this terrible condition. Thanks for your kind words :-)

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    2. And thanks for including me on your blog roll! I am honored :-)

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  5. I think your detailed descriptions of some of the specific issues you encounter are very helpful -- explaining your husband's various behaviors and how you cope with them -- for both caregivers and supporting professionals. What and how you described this latest challenge was strikingly similar to an example given in a seminar I, coincidentally, attended yesterday which included discussion on how to handle such situations. The presentation's highly respected professionally knowledgeable speaker spoke of the importance of the caretaker often needing to enter into the reality of the one they care for, also, sometimes even falsely validating/lying/psychologically manipulating the person. Your experience demonstrates the effectiveness of that as an appropriate approach in that situation.

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  6. Thanks Joared for your comment. The concept of entering into the reality of the one you care for is a very positive way of looking at our interactions. It validates efforts to provide support, be gentle and kind, and avoid anxiety producing situations. I appreciate you sharing this with me! It makes me feel less guilty. I suppose it also reflects the good intentions of the caregiver; we are only trying to help our love one cope better with changes that come our way.

    Always appreciate your insight :-)

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  7. We're fine here, right now. But having seen my husband's father and uncle slide into dementia when they grew older, I'm not sure what's waiting a few years from now. You're right - it does helps to write these things 'out loud'.
    (Thanks for stopping by my blog, Carole)

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  8. Thanks for visiting my blog Marty. I think that most of us can think of someone, related or not, who is affected by cognitive decline. Scary stuff, especially since there is currently no treatment. As Jim would say "one of life's little surprises".

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  9. Carole, sorry I'm late with my comment. For some reason I'm having trouble keeping your blog address in the system I use for keeping up with blogs. It keeps kicking it out. I'll check into that problem today.

    Yes, by all means, keep blogging. Your insight will be helpful to others who may walk this path in times to come.

    I enjoy your comments on my blog. All of us need to stick together to support each other.

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    1. Thanks for your comment Linda. I enjoy your blog too! I admire your ambition and the frequency with which you post.

      Yes, we all do need to stick together. I've been pleasantly surprised at how quickly my blog has been "discovered", and appreciate the readers and the comments. It's like a giant support group!

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