Kate changes. I change. Things don’t always work out.

As Kate has been sleeping later in the morning and also becoming more dependent, I have been making my own changes. I know that I have talked a lot about living in Kate’s world, and that it has worked. I’m not sure that I have also stressed that caregivers must also engage their rational abilities as well. That means shifting gears to solve or prevent problems. I’ll give you an example of what happened this morning.

It has become increasingly challenging for Kate to select her clothes in the morning. She has tried selecting them the night before, but she usually forgets some of the things she will need (e.g., her shoes, socks, a top, etc.). I decided to address this issue last week and have been selecting her clothes either the night before or in the morning before she is up. This has worked pretty well.

You may remember that she fell out of the shower last week. I decided it was safer for her to shower in our bathroom that has a walk-in shower. Some mornings, she chooses our bathroom anyway. This past week I caught her before she was about to use a shower in another bathroom and suggested that she use ours. That worked.

When she showers, she often uses several towels. That usually means at least two bath towels. In addition, she often uses one or more hand towels and, sometimes, the bathmat. When she finishes she drops or throws them on the floor or counter tops or whatever is nearby. That’s not a problem for me when she is using another bathroom; however, it conflicts with my OCD when she uses our bathroom. I try to keep all the towels, toothbrushes, and toothpaste in their “proper” places. That means a clean up after she showers. Since she doesn’t know which towels are hers, she often gets mine. To solve that I started keeping two on top of the counter directly across from the shower and pointed them out to her. Once or twice she has used at least one, but she still opens a drawer and pulls out one or two other hand and/or bath towels.

When I had the bathroom redone, I had two hooks installed inside the shower to hold towels. That way the person showering could dry off without opening the door. That gave me another idea. After my shower last night, I hung two bath towels for her on the hooks. In addition, I left the original two towels for her on the counter in case she wanted more. I thought I had it made. I had adequately addressed the problem, for me anyway. The shower issue was no problem for her. It was solely mine.

Now I can tell you the results I had with my little experiment. Kate went to bed earlier last night, so I thought about the possibility that she might wake up earlier this morning. I checked on her once or twice, and she was still sleeping. I got busy on my own things. When I checked on her again, I discovered that she had already showered and not in our bathroom, so I hung her towels back on the towel rack where they are normally kept. I can’t say that my plan for the shower didn’t work. I just slipped up and didn’t get to her quickly enough.

Next I noticed that she had left all the clothes I had put out for her right where I had put them last night. She had gotten out her own clothes except for a top. I went to her closet and brought one to her. I also got her a pair of shoes and socks. She suggested that I let her take care of the rest, and I did. When she was ready to go to Panera (yes, we were early enough for that), I noticed that she wasn’t wearing the top I had picked out. I didn’t say anything because the one she picked out was just fine. This often happens. I am never sure if she just didn’t want to wear the one I picked out or if she misplaced the one I had given her. I think both of those things happen from time to time. I don’t worry about this. The important thing is that she has a top to wear. However, it’s one more example of the things that I do to prevent a problem only to discover it didn’t work the way I intended. I’m just glad our problems are not bigger than this, except for her Alzheimer’s itself. That, of course, is the biggest issue we have faced in our entire marriage.