As a caregiver, I sometimes feel that I am an event planner. As we begin this new year, I have been reflecting on ways to address Kate’s boredom. That has led me to take several steps this week. One of our church friends who has been in a memory care unit for the past 2-3 years had a birthday earlier this week. We have not been to see her in quite a while because I was concerned about how Kate would react knowing that she (Kate) is traveling the same journey as our friend. The visit went very well. Kate made no mention of any reaction to her condition. She had done so on the previous visit, but she hadn’t given any sign of being disturbed by how she was doing. This time she didn’t say anything except in response to my comment about being glad that we made the visit.
The next day we visited two of my Sunday school class members who have not been able to attend for as long as three years. Since our class disbanded in December, I wanted to deliver a couple of remembrances for each of them. One was a list of those who were members of the class when we ended (both those who were active and inactive) along with an acrylic square with the person’s name, the class name, and the name of our church on it. The other was a list of all the deceased members of the class that I a aware of. It totals 95. I am sure there are some that I have missed. I thought it might be a good outing for Kate to go with me. When I asked, she gladly accepted. We had an hour-long visit with one of the members. She is 93 and in far better shape than I realized. The other visit was much shorter. This person is also in a memory unit. She knew us the last time we visited six months or so ago. She did not this time. She was quite confused. We left as they were preparing for dinner. Once again, Kate made no comment that would indicate this was a problem for her. I was relieved. It makes me think that we may be able to do it again though I am going to wait a while.
There are still three other class members I need to visit. I’ll try to do that soon
I have also made plans for us to attend the last performance of Ringling Brothers circus when it is here next week. We are taking a church secretary and her daughter who have often looked after Kate’s plants while we are traveling. In addition, I have booked a hotel room in Asheville for Memorial Day weekend. This coincides with our 54th anniversary and is the time we usually attend Asheville. Our church choir is having a fundraiser on February 10. It will be a Italian dinner with music and a silent auction. I’ve put that on our calendar. The next evening Renee Fleming will give a concert in Nashville. I am planning to get tickets to that event today or tomorrow. I have already contacted our friends, the Greeleys, in Nashville to see if they would like to join us or a least get together earlier in the day for lunch.
Yesterday I also called someone at the Alzheimer’s Association. I have spoken with her before about locating a support group for people with dementia (PWD). She still doesn’t know of anything but expressed a willingness to help me put one together. After speaking with her, I called a local senior center where caregivers can get a break and/or support. I thought maybe they might have something for PWD as well. It turns out that they do. They have some activities for PWD while the caregivers are in a support group. I spoke with the director who sent me a calendar with their activities. She invited me to drop by at any time just to look around. They have a café where caregivers and their loved ones can relax. I noticed on their calendar that they have a support group for caregivers and care receivers with early onset dementia. It meets the first and third Tuesday of each month. This may be our best bet yet. I am eager to check it out.