I often run into people who ask how Kate is doing. Frequently, that is followed by asking me how I’m doing. I’m on a high right now. As many other caregivers say about their loved ones, “When Kate is happy, I’m happy,” and she’s been happy much more over the past few months. She’s been unusually happy and talkative for at least three of the past five days.
Not every moment in a day is a “Happy Moment.” That doesn’t mean that the rest of the moments are sad. In fact, she never has a sad day. When she is not happy, she seems intimidated or unsure about how she should act or what she should say. Other times, her emotional expressions are quite neutral.
Her Happy Moments are often related to the people around her and what is going on, but it is common for her to sit quietly and just smile as she looks around the room. It makes me wonder what she sees or what she is thinking that makes her so happy. When I ask, I never get an answer, but it’s good to see her happy.
It’s not just her feeling happy that affects me. It’s also what she says or does when she is happy. She has been talking more with her caregiver. I love observing their conversations. This caregiver is the only one she has responded to in this way during the entire five years we have had in-home care. As noted in earlier posts, I believe one reason for this is Kate’s general adaption to our new home in a retirement community as well as recovering from her stroke; however, I give this particular caregiver equal credit. She has made a difference in both of our lives.
The success she has had with Kate is her personality. She is kind and caring. She’s a bit “low-key” but talkative and gets along well with other residents and staff. She is not intimidating, and that makes it easy for Kate to connect with her.
Although Kate is more cheerful and talkative, there is one general pattern that remains. She is quietest in the morning. She still rarely says anything before lunch. It can be as late as 3:30 in the afternoon when we go for ice cream and sometimes as late as dinner before she is ready for any social engagement. Kate occasionally breaks this pattern and is awake and smiling early in the morning and maintains her good spirits the entire day and evening.
My being upbeat relates to the fact that, recently, she has been cheerful almost every afternoon and evening. The only difference is when the cheerfulness begins.
Our evenings continue to be our best time together. I wouldn’t describe them as “cheerful.” They are simply times when each of us is completely at ease. Once in a while, she is quite talkative. Most of the time, she is not. She is just winding down as she gets ready to go to sleep. It’s the same way for me. It is clearly the most relaxing time of our day, and it’s made even better by sharing this quiet time together – always with music. At this time of the year, it seems appropriate to say, “It’s a Wonderful Life.”