Trying to make it through life with His help.

Posts tagged ‘prayer’

Being Safe at Home

I’m going to start this one out with something that should go without saying: This is my opinion, based on my experience(s). Yours will be, I’m sure, totally different. Any advice I give is done so with the intent of possibly helping someone else who is – or will be – going through a similar situation. I wasn’t paid to endorse any of the items listed below. It’s just what we bought, and thought it might help you. What you do in your situation, will be your decision, based on your situation.

I know it’s been quite a while since I’ve written. But, honestly, I just haven’t had the time, or energy, to do just one more thing that I ‘should’ do. If you know me, or have read some of my previous blogs, you know that my sweet Mom has dementia. It has slowly, but surely, taken over most of my life. Not because I am her sole caregiver, but, because I feel I need to be here for her and my Dad as much as I can, while I can. I don’t think it’s fair to leave my Dad here with her 24/7 without giving him some sort of break from her. That may sound like it’s a really cruel thing to say about my own Mother, but, you try dealing with someone who is confused about pretty much everything, sees and talks to people who aren’t there, can’t get thoughts across, is stubborn as a mule, (ha!), and falls up to two to three times a week, and see how quickly you need a break. I’m not here all the time, I have a job, and I get frustrated with her. But, for the most part, my Dad is extremely patient with her. He has his moments, but, for the most part, it’s because he loves her more than he loves himself, that he takes care of her every need. Which, at 87, can’t be easy.

In this post, I thought I’d give you some ideas about what you might be facing if you’re in a similar situation. That being, keeping your loved one at home with you for as long as possible, before having to place them in a facility to take care of things you’re no longer able to do. First, let me say, get help. There are agencies that help, and are paid through Social Security. Do your research on the internet, you’ll find a lot of them. We lucked out and got some wonderful people from Willowbrook Home Health. They will come out and review your situation and send the help needed. (At least that’s how it worked for us). Every single person we have worked with from Willowbrook is top-notch and so very nice. They genuinely care for their patients. They will advise you as to the equipment you will need to get to make your home easier for your loved one to live in.

I have to say, too, that your loved one must be willing to cooperate with the things you get for them. As I said earlier, my Mom is quite stubborn, and does exactly what she wants to do, and doesn’t listen to us much any more. I have to smile at this, because it lets us know that my Mom is ‘still in there’, somewhere. So, she doesn’t always use the things we’ve gotten for her. We haven’t gotten her a walker of some kind because we know that she will absolutely refuse to use it. (Can you say, “prissy”?!) 🙂

These are things WE were told we needed. Your situation may be different. And, make it easy on yourself, don’t run all over town trying to find things. Order them from Amazon. If you don’t have Prime, it might be worth getting it so you can get things to your home quicker. (If you’re interested, you can use AmazonSmile, which allows a small portion of what you spend to be donated to a charity of your choice).

1.) Car Assistance Handle. This is one of those handy-dandy handles that fits in the inside of an open car door. In actuality, my Mom hasn’t needed this too much, but, I think it’ll come more in handy for my Dad. They vary in price, but you can expect to pay $10-$25 for one. I got lucky and found a kit that had three different items for car assistance items in it. It’s no longer available, or I would give you the link.

2.) Tub Transfer Bench. You’ll need this to get them safely in and out of the tub.

3.) Gait Belt. This can be a wonderful thing to help you assist someone who is unsteady on their feet to walk, and not fall. If you want to see how to put it on, this, (according to the comments), is the best video out there. If you’re curious as to exactly what it is, watch the video in the link above, and it should explain everything.

4.) Hand-Held Shower Device. You may already have something like this. We didn’t, and totally LOVE this one.

These last few items weren’t recommended by the staff who come to check in on my Mom. But, they’ve definitely helped us.

5.) Bedside Commode. Because walking becomes increasingly difficult, you learn quickly that this is a good thing to have around when they can’t get to the bathroom fast enough.

6.) Self-Adhesive Wrap Bandages. I don’t care who you are, these are a pretty handy thing to have. My Dad needs them more than Mom, though. He likes to put band-aids with ointment on all the time when he gets a cut or scrape. (He’s always ‘playing in the dirt’ or puttering in the garage). Because he’s still pretty active, they don’t stay on too well. But, wrap it up with some of this, and it’s not going anywhere! 🙂 There are bigger, and smaller, boxes of these bandages. This one was just a pretty good deal, so I got it. I’ll probably give a few rolls away.

7.) Stove Knob Covers. Oh, my goodness. I can’t tell you the peace of mind these have given me! Sometimes, Mom gets up in the middle of the night and starts ‘cooking’. Most of the time she just fills up pots/pans with water and sets them on the stove. But, recently, I heard her fall, and ran into the kitchen to pick her up. As I picked her up, I noticed she had turned on two or three of the stove eyes. I knew right then that I had to find something to prevent her from doing it again. A friend at work suggested these. I couldn’t wait to get them home! Because dementia patients at this stage don’t ‘learn new tricks’, she’s not able to figure out how they work and turn the knob to heat the eye.

8.) Paper Medicine Cups. You know what these are, they’re the little paper cups you can get at Wendy’s or Arby’s for sauce. As Mom has gotten worse, she’s having more and more trouble taking her pills. (When she takes them. Again, stubborn!) 🙂 So, I figured, for a little bit of nothin’, I’ll see if these will help.

9.) Door Chime/Alarm. These have helped with peace of mind, too. You’ll find that you just can’t be with them every second of the time you’re home. And, people with Dementia and Alzheimer’s can wander if given half a chance. Thankfully, my Mom has only wandered off once without us knowing. Talk about being freaked out! But, these door chimes are loud. (I muted it with gauze, but then my Dad couldn’t hear it, even standing right in front of it. So I had to take it off). So, once installed, you should be able to hear it from anywhere in the house when the door is opened.

It’s a shame I couldn’t think of one more thing to round out the list…but that’s just my OCD talking.

My advice is to do as much as you can, as often as you can. They’re not going to be here forever, and you don’t want to look back later, and wish you’d been there more often, or done more because you were ‘too busy’. If you’re not one of the main care givers, please make sure you help without having to be asked. I can assure you, if you don’t, it makes it hard on those who are there more often. I’m in a very unique position in that I don’t have my own family, or my own home, to take care of. So, I have moved in with my parents, and as difficult as that can be sometime, (especially at my age), I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s mutually beneficial. I’m lucky, too, that the company I work for is a family-owned business, who understands that family is very important. To date, they’ve been very flexible the few times I’ve had to take time off to take care of one of my parents.

I knew when I moved home to Tennessee from Georgia that the Lord had a reason, and that His timing was perfect. I didn’t realize at the time just HOW perfect His timing was, though. I was lucky enough to be there before my Mom got too bad, but it’s been really hard having a front row seat to see the steady decline of both my parents; the tears in my Dad’s eyes as he finally realizes that he just can’t do everything for Mom any more, and that it’s time to move her to a facility. I don’t know what this house is going to be like without her. She’s always been here. I do know that the only way we’ll get through it is to lean on each other, but more importantly, lean on God. Maybe once we get her comfortable in a wonderful place, I can get him to go back to church. I know he misses it.

Y’all, please pray for us, and everybody else out there who’s dealing with Dementia or Alzheimer’s. We appreciate it.

Thanks.

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Being Distressed

You know, it was hard enough when we found out that Mom had dementia, but watching her go through it is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.

Over the last 6-8 years I’ve watched my Mother’s mind deteriorate. At first it was little things, like she couldn’t find the right word to say, or she would forget something. But, we all do that at one time or another, right?

The first time we ever had the scary notion that something wasn’t quite right with her was when I was in the hospital for a few days. Mom and Dad are the best parents any kid could ever ask for. They’re always there for me and my brother. And, this was no exception. They drove four hours to Atlanta to be with me while I was in the hospital, and only left to go to my Uncle’s house to sleep. So, yeah, they both were worried and extremely tired. For the most part, I truly believe Mom’s condition, especially at that time, was made worse by worry and exhaustion. The only way I have ever been able to explain it – then or since – is that she seemed confused about what she was confused about. I know it sounds odd, but that’s how it seemed.

I haven’t written anything in my blog for months, because, thankfully, there just hasn’t been that much to say. But, in the last few weeks, I’ve seen a steady decline. Changes that I just am not ready for are happening daily. Her speech is getting softer all the time, she can’t string sentences together very well most of the time, and she’s more and more unsure on her feet. But, the biggest is that she sees people no one else can see. Many times they’ll be people she knows, but they’re doing things the real people would never do. She keeps telling me that my best friend’s Mom is in her closet going through her clothes and just taking what ever she wants. (Never mind that my friend’s Mom is at least 4-5 inches taller than my Mom and couldn’t begin to fit into her clothes…lol)

For a long time Mom has seen these people, but it’s different now. Most of the time she described them as just regular people or small children. Every once in a while though, she’d say something about someone REALLY tall, dressed in white. Not just plain ol’ white, but a bright white. Well now. Hmmm. If you’ve read anything about Angels, you’ve probably come across the same kind of description that my Mom gives of these people.

Being a Christian, and someone who has the Gift of Knowledge, (which, in my case means seeing, knowing or feeling things many people don’t), how can I say that what she’s seeing isn’t really there? I can’t. I know it freaks people out a bit when I see things they don’t, or even tell them about it after the fact. Now I know how they feel on a moment by moment basis. In the last week or so, Mom has gone from just seeing these people, to talking to them, and now, in the last two days, she’s started to putting food out for them. It’s not for these tall people dressed in white, though. (It would make me feel better if it was!) She sees, talks to, and now tries to feed tiny children. A boy and a girl. They have – according to Mom – been sitting in our flower pots, sitting on the shelf in the pantry, and climbing up the cabinet doors. I hear and see her interact with them all day long. And, yeah, it’s kinda freaky.

I’m not looking for any kind of resolution here, I’m just trying to get this ‘down on paper’, and out of my head. As much as I know that God’s got this, and He’s got it all under control and worked out much better than I could ever try and plan it out, it’s just hard to deal with. And, writing about it helps a bit. I would appreciate prayers. That’s the only thing that will truly help.

Thanks for listening.

Being Illogical

So, for the last few weeks, it’s been pretty calm at home. No disappearances, no calling other family members for help, which is a good thing. And, I thank God that nothing major like that has happened again.

The things that do happen are what have become the every day things of living with someone who has dementia. She sees things and people who aren’t there, gets ideas in her head that no logic in the world can convince her aren’t true, makes statements that make no sense, and possibly worst of all, inadvertently hurts the one person who’s been there through everything, and still loves her more than life itself.

For as long as I can remember, my Mom has always gone to sleep while watching television at night. She rarely saw the end of a show or movie. It’s just something she always did. But now when she falls asleep, she dreams dreams we have no idea about, and she can’t always separate fact from fiction. So, most of the time, what she dreams about seems to get mixed up with her reality. We just never know what’s going to come out of her mouth from one moment to the next.

screen-shot-2016-09-19-at-11-02-52-pmTonight, she woke up and asked my Dad if he could sleep in the room with my brother, (who wasn’t even there). I told her that Dad had his own bed. She asked where, and I told her the same one she slept in. She said, “He can’t sleep in the same bed with me! We’re not married!” I didn’t even want to see the look on my Dad’s face. This has hit him a lot harder than anyone else. She – so far – remembers me, my brother and his son, and pretty much everyone else. But my sweet Daddy… well, she doesn’t always remember who he is, or that he’s her husband. I told her to look at her hand. She held up her right hand, “See? No ring.” I said, “The other hand, Mama.” She giggled like a school girl and wouldn’t even look at her left hand. See? No logic can convince her.

So, tonight she’s sleeping upstairs. No amount of convincing will get her down here in her own bed. I’ll be praying that she doesn’t wake up during the night to come downstairs, because she falls so easily now, especially when she’s half asleep. And a fall down those stairs could be really bad. And, if she falls, we might not hear her. Because of that, I may sleep in the living room tonight… I know I can’t keep her from falling, but I could get to her faster from there than I could from my room.

If you have someone in your life who has dementia or Alzheimer’s, the one thing I would tell you to do – besides pray…a lot – would be to check out Prevagen. It’s an over the counter drug to help with memory loss. It’s actually helped my Mom, or more accurately, what I think it’s done is to keep her from getting worse faster than she would have if she hadn’t been taking it. And, in case you’re wondering, I’m not a paid spokesperson for it, I haven’t received samples, nor have I ever been contacted by them to write a review or anything like that. It just seems like it helps, and it might help someone else out there who needs it.

This is hard on us all. But, for me, the hardest thing is seeing how it hurts my Dad. He knows it’s the dementia talking, but as he said, “I can’t do anything with it.” It’s something you just have to learn to live, and deal with. I’ve found that I’m more emotional at times than I even realize I may be. I don’t like to be around pushy, difficult or confrontational people anyway, but I can usually deal with them pretty well. But twice in the last week, I’ve been in situations where I just didn’t handle them well at all. I need to get a better grip on things, but so far, I just haven’t been able to. I guess more prayer is in order.

Thanks for listening.

Being Thankful for Family

Whew! I’m not sure what it is about Sundays, but two weeks in a row now, my Mom has had a bad day on a Sunday. Maybe it’s that she’s put up with not “going home” for another week, and she’s gotten tired of it, and decides that today’s the day!, and she tries to do something about it. I don’t know, I just don’t know.

Sunday morning began, for me, being awakened by my Dad. He came in my room and told me that Mom had just called my cousin Martha, (who was named after my Mom, and just happens to be a nurse), to come get her and take her home. Being the sweet person she is, she told Mom that she was on her way and would come get her. So, a little while later, she and her husband arrived at our house.

They came inside, bringing our Sunday paper with them. (See? That’s sweet. Not everyone would have brought it in with them.) She and Mom went into the living room while her husband, Jerry, Dad and I stood in the dining room and talked for a little bit. A few minutes later, Martha and Mom came back out, and said they were going for a little drive.

Mom and Martha were gone for a while. She drove Mom all around, seeing familiar places, and talking the whole time. You can easily see that Martha is good at what she does. She’s so sweet and patient, and knows what to say, and when to say it.

It’s comforting to have family around when you need them. The Lord knows who you need when you need them. Not that any of my other family members wouldn’t have done the same thing. I truly believe that anyone Mom would have called that morning would have dropped what they were doing and come to see her just because she asked them to. That’s just one of the great things about having such a big ol’ wonderful and loving family.

I know things with Mom aren’t going to get any better. I know they could if that’s what the Lord wanted. Wouldn’t that be wonderful to receive a miracle like that? I know He can do anything He wants to do, and I wish he would give my Mom back to us. But I don’t know what His will is, so all I can do is just pray for it to be done. I have asked for us to be put on every prayer list I can think of. So, there are enough people agreeing for something to happen. I did hear from two different people this week that there is actually a promising cure for Alzheimer’s and Dementia now. But, of course, it’ll take years upon years for the FDA to approve it and get it out to those who need it, IF they ever approve it at all. So, I know it’s possible. Plus, I heard ‘my’ song today, “God is On The Move”, by 7eventh Time Down. It’s just a little reminder to me that He’s still there taking care of me and all that is around me. His way of telling me He’s got this.

Do you have something you feel that the Lord uses to get your attention? Something that happens where you think, “OK, God, I know you’re there. Thanks for watching over me, yet again.”? If you’ll just listen, I bet you’ll experience God.

Thanks for listening.

Being Terrified

Fear-Not-Banner-2

You’d think after my last post, (YESTERDAY), I might be better at not worrying, right? Well, that’d be a big ol’ NOPE!

Geez. Things hit you out of left field when someone you love has dementia. As I was leaving to go to church today, my Mom asked if she could come with me. I was a bit taken aback because she stopped going to church a few years ago for various medical reasons. I asked, “You want to go to church with me?” She said, “No, I thought you could take me somewhere. I’m not supposed to say it, but I thought maybe you could take me home.” (She’s been asking us for weeks now when we were going to go home. They have lived in the same house for 52 years, so, we’re not sure exactly where she’s wanting to go.) Once again, I told her if she could tell me where it was, I would gladly take her there. She turned around, waving her hands, and shaking her head, saying, “Never mind. Just never mind.”

Dad told me to go on to church, it would be ok. So, I made the short drive to church. One of the first things my teacher does is take prayer requests. So, I asked her to put my Mom and Dad on the list. I wanted to say more, but tears welled up in my eyes and I couldn’t get anything else out. We went on with the lesson, and my phone tumblr_lle1iri7zy1qbatwqo1_1280buzzed. I got up and out of the room as soon as I could, but I missed the phone call. It was from my Dad. I knew something must have happened because he wouldn’t have called me otherwise. I listened to the voice message. Mom had disappeared. She had walked off and he couldn’t find her. I could hear the fear and worry in his voice, which is such an unusual thing for my Dad, who has always been so strong. I ran back in the room, gathered my things and ran out.

By this time, I was barely able to see because of the tears. I knew I was going to have to pull it together, at least enough to drive home. As I walked to my car, two young men came up to me and asked if I was ok, and if there was anything they could do. I quickly explained what had happened and asked them to just please pray that she would be ok. Once I got out of the church parking lot, I didn’t have to stop at all – a total miracle since there’s at least eight stop lights between church and home. I tried not to speed, (much), but it was difficult. At one point I thought it might be a good thing if I was pulled over, then I could get the Officer to help find her. But, I just wanted to get home and make sure my Mom was found and ok.

When I was a few miles from home, my Dad finally answered his cell phone and told me that he had found her. She had walked five houses down the street to a neighbor’s house…in 90° heat. We live in an older neighborhood, where the houses aren’t stuck so close together you can reach out the window and touch your neighbor. There’s actually room to roam. You know, like neighborhoods used to be 50+ years ago. So, this wasn’t just a few feet, but closer to a quarter of a mile. That may not sound like it’s too far, but for an 85 year old who can’t walk well, that’s a LONG way. Thankfully the neighbor, a woman who’s children I had grown up with, was home and brought Mom back to us.

Apparently, Mom had wanted to go “Home” so badly, that she was willing to strike out on her own to get there. I later found out that she had told Dad that she would walk until she dropped to get there. So, when he left the room for a few minutes, she did just that. Thankfully she didn’t drop, though, or get too far.

As much as I would like to tell you that I didn’t worry, or fear, I’d be lying if I did. And, I’m not going to do that. Heck, I’ve already told you that I cried all the way home, which doesn’t exactly mean I was too confident. I knew He was with me. I talked to Him all the way home. But, I think that being strong and confident in the Lord is something that most of us have to work on, or build up to. We’re so used to doing things for ourselves and/or relying on someone else to do things, that relying on Him isn’t necessarily the first thing we think of. Even though it should be. I’d really rather not have to be tested on this again, but I think it’s the only way we learn to trust him fully. I just hope I get better at it sooner than later, because I’m not sure my heart can take too many more days like today.

Thanks for listening.

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Being Thirsty

DROUGHT_Program-Cover

I realize it’s been a while since I’ve written a post. I just haven’t felt like I’ve had much to say. The Lord has been relatively quiet these last few weeks. But in His silence, there’s still plenty to learn.

I have been to three churches in my search for a new church home, so far. I have enjoyed each, but haven’t felt that ‘at home’ feeling I would love to have. When thinking about that feeling, I realized that, most likely, it’s not going to happen in one visit. I felt SO comfortable at Grace Fellowship in Georgia that it is going to be really hard to find anything that comes close to it. GFC became my family.

The three churches I have attended so far have ranged from small, to the very large. It’s a bit frustrating because I’m not sure exactly what I’m looking for, other than a place that feels like home. I told my pastor in Georgia the other day that if I could have him, TD Jakes, and Robert Morris all rolled into one I would be a happy camper! But, unfortunately, I don’t think that’s going to happen. I have a list of churches that I want to visit. I’m hoping I’ll know the church is the right one after I have been there. But that’s not a guarantee. Thankfully there are websites, and sermons online that you can listen to now. That has both helped fill the ‘gap’ until I find my new church home and narrow down the list of churches to visit.

There have been good qualities at each church. And, for me, the music is going to be a large part of my decision-making process. I love to sing. When I was a young girl, I always heard my mother singing alto, so I guess I just picked it up. While in the youth choir I sang soprano. But anytime I sang a ‘special’ in church with one of my friends, I always sang the harmony. That’s the part I love the most, because there’s so much you can do with it. And now, I try to find the unusual, and the unexpected harmony. So, I guess there are a few things I know I’m looking for. But as always, I’d like to hear it plainly from Him, but I kinda doubt that’s going to happen.

As I’ve said before, sometimes the Lord speaks to me so plainly that what He has to say is unmistakeable. Other times, like before I decided to move, and now, it’s been a bit hard to deal with the quietness of Him. Times like this make me thirsty for His Word. Thankfully, I have received little messages from others that tell me He’s still there waiting and watching, but it’s just not the same as hearing from Him directly. But, I would rather have those Words from others, than nothing at all.

The other day, I received a message from one of my friends at GFC. The message was based on I Kings 18:41 which says:
Then Elijah said to Ahab, “Go get something to eat and drink, for I hear a mighty rainstorm coming!”

The Samaritans had been in a drought for three years, then Elijah comes along and says there’s going to be a rainstorm. This can go along with our own lives. I know many times I’ve felt like I’ve been in a drought of some kind. Right now, I’m unemployed, and, (thankfully), living with my parents again until I can find a new job and a place of my own. I think that would qualify as a drought of some kind, don’t you? But it’s what you DO during the drought that will set you apart from others. And what you do during your drought will prepare you for the rainstorm and get you through the storm to the other side. 

4741583Getting this Word from my friend was a gentle push from Him to let me know that He’s still there and that He will still make good on the promises He’s made to me. I just have to keep doing what I’m doing and keep believing He’s working on the best job I’ve ever had. And, I totally believe that. I know that there is a ‘dream job’ out there for me. I just haven’t found it yet. I’ve sent out bunches of resumes, but it hasn’t been to the right place yet. I know that at this job I will make enough to pay for the things that He has in store for me, like that house with a porch that has a beautiful view. That view will inspire me to sit and write the books that I’ve been told I will write. So, I’m not just searching for any ol’ job. I want THE job that He has prepared for me.

So, I continue to do what I believe He wants me to do during this drought I’m in. As well as listening for His voice letting me know what He thinks I need to change, those things He impresses upon my heart that I need to do in order to move on in my spiritual journey. I have recently taken care of one of those things, but another isn’t as easy to do. Simple, yes. But easy? No.

drought-23Are you in a drought? I believe there are all kinds of droughts, but what is yours? Do you know? Take a little while to think about it. Pray about it! Then, become thirsty for the Lord and His Word. Listen for His voice to let you know what you need to do while in the drought and what measures you need to take to move you through it. Pray for the rain. You’ll get through it if you just listen to Him.

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