Love may look and feel a bit different for those with loved ones struggling with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Everyone shows their love in different ways. One of our family members began writing about his wife’s journey with Alzheimer’s a few years ago where he imagines the world through her eyes. He has been gracious enough to share his writing with us and allow us to share. He has a unique insight into what she’s experiencing and how he’s able to bring her joy.
“Chocolate covered cherries, with the exception of Outer Banks Fudge, has always been my favorite candy. I often found myself checking the store shelves in October and November until the candy was available at the store. Jim has kept some here at Commonwealth for me.
This morning, he came and fed me breakfast like normal. Then we spent about an hour in the serenity room. He held me the whole time. Jim walked with me back to the common area next to the dining room to find me a comfortable seat for the morning. After I sat down, Jim went to my room and came back with some chocolate cherries for me.
As I was eating the first one, Hannah, the Activities Director, walked in the room and looked at me with a surprised look on her face and asked with an astonished tone, ‘Patricia, are you eating chocolate in the morning?’ I just smiled at her and nodded yes as Jim gave me a second piece of candy. By now Hannah was thoroughly entertained by my eating candy. Hannah followed up her first question with, ‘Has Jim always fed you chocolate in the morning?’ This time I answered, ‘No.’
The next question was ‘When did you train him to do that?’ I just started laughing. Hannah then came to my chair laughing with me and giving me a hug. Then she asked, ‘Do you think I should train my boyfriend to give me chocolate in the morning?’ and ‘Could you help me with that?’ By now all three of us were laughing together. I enjoy treats like chocolate covered cherries. I also enjoy laughing. I don’t think I laugh enough.”
Being able to create a moment like this is so wonderful. Jim knows her love for candy and Hannah knows how to make her giggle. These moments are created by families working together with our team to help us created a person-centered program. Knowing that she loves these candies gives us the opportunity to bring her joy is she’s having a hard day.
What is a Personalized Care Plan?
Every person is unique. This means every person struggling with dementia has a different experience as well, and different types of dementia require different types of care. Our Sweet Memories™ program provides person-centered care to ensure each resident enjoys the most appropriate support possible. It all begins with their life story. By first building a sound relationship with our resident, our associates really get to know each person in our care. We talk with residents and their families and earn each residents life story. We consider their medical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual needs, as well as their habits and preferences. With this knowledge in our hearts, we form friendships and provide truly personalized care and attention.
Let Us Become the Caregivers
While you’re taking care of your loved one, it’s important to take care of yourself too. Take time for yourself to do the things you enjoy like reading, writing in a journal, or gardening. Having our team handle logistics of daily life like medication management and meal times makes it possible to focus on being a husbands, wives, sons, and daughters instead of caregivers.
To join a support group near you, designed to foster support, assistance, and education to help manage the stresses associated with being a caregiver, reach out to the community nearest you today.