Memories can be sparked by pictures, as well. Get out the old picture album and ask about a few of the pictures, then sit back and enjoy the stories. They love telling them and you may find out things about your loved one that you didn’t know. If you have a tape recorder, this is the time to bring it out. You could record their past adventures for posterity and make them happy by remembering old times. There is nothing quite like reminiscing. Memories that have been locked away can be brought out to be enjoyed again.
If your patient enjoys playing cards or assembling a picture puzzle, this can fill many hours, and if the children pitch in to help, it makes a wonderful time for young and old alike. Even a game of Go Fish with the grandchildren will bring a smile to the face of your patient.
It doesn’t take much to please your loved one. They just need to feel they are part of the family and not someone to shut in a room and forget.
If my mother-in-law had been able to pursue an outside interest, she would have been happier.
As her condition became worse, she needed more help than we could give her. We placed her in a local nursing home, close to us, where she spent her last eight months. She was reduced to skin and bones at the end, because it took too much energy to eat. She would try, but she couldn’t get enough oxygen and her energy level was extremely low. She lapsed into a coma and died with her son holding her hand. She was finally free from pain.
The caregiver requires contract with others outside the house as much as the mother or father she is caring for. Communication with friends, with other caregivers, with new people, is the leavening necessary to keep the human spirit rising. Close confinement with those whose care is your responsibility, without refreshing breaks, inevitably leads to smoldering resentment and anger.