I have always been a good sleeper, but in the past year or so I have had trouble. It isn’‘t trouble going to sleep. It is waking up early in the morning and not being able to go back to sleep. This is one of those mornings. I awoke at 2:59 and have not been able to go back to sleep since then. At 3:30 I got up, put my earbuds in and listened to soft music (a playlist that I created for Kate when she has a panic attack). Finally at 4:00 I just got up and decided I would write this post.
When I wake up like this I find myself thinking about all the different obligations I have. These are heavily focused on Kate. That has been the entire case this morning. When I say Kate, I really mean the two of us. This morning I have been thinking about the challenges of keeping her entertained. She seems to get so bored. I started thinking about the senior center where Mom and Dad used to go. I didn’t think of it at the time, but I am confident now that Dad was connecting with places like that to try to entertain Mom. Of course, it isn’tjust the person who has Alzheimer’s. There is also a focus on the caregiver. With the loss of our closest friends in town, I have had a fear that the two of us will become more and more isolated. While I am the more gregarious, Kate also enjoys being with people. I can see ourselves getting cut off from close social contact. We are not likely to be cultivating new friends at this stage of our lives unless we are very deliberate about it. That is getting harder as Kate’s condition deteriorates.
So what am I going to do about it? First, I am going to pursue more regular attendance at the Wednesday evening church suppers. I am also going to check into the senior center and explore what possible opportunities they have. In addition, I believe I will start participating in the Shepherd’s’ Center programs. Finally, I will start regular attendance at the senior’s’ luncheons at church. I am hoping those outlets will be good for both of us.
I also mindful that this is a short-term fix. As Kate declines, she will be less able to get out and be involved. What I will have to do is balance the benefit she may derive from the social stimulation with the frustration she experiences because she is not fully able to enjoy, understand, and participate in these activities. Inevitably, she will drop out, and I will be left to go on my own. I have to admit that as I consider these things I am experiencing fear about the future. We have gotten along so well during the past 5 years since her diagnosis. The inevitable reality is beginning to hit me.