Beatitude for Care

by Pat Warner RN, MSN

BLESSED are the caregivers who understand Alzheimer’s Disease as a reversing of the aging process. For they shall have a better understanding of my being “caught in a time tunnel” quickly reversing its pace.

BLESSED is the person who comes up to me and tell me his/her name first and reminds me of some shared experience we’ve had This may help my recall process. For when I become less stressed and not with such memory searching for the unknown.

BLESSED is the person who can bring me back to happier times when I was worthwhile and had a good sense of self-worth. For many of my once friends have now abandoned my world.

BLESSED are the caregivers who let me periodically withdraw and re-group. For loud noises of children, barking dogs, TV and radio set me into instant confusion and temporarily devastate my mind.

BLESSED is the person who can provide me with some form of comfort when I become too confused or restless and can no longer concentrate on my independent functioning. For they can offer me food, smiles, hugs, or just a friendly hand in silence.

BLESSED is the person who recognizes my “good days” and my “bad days”. For they can help ease undue tension by distraction or avoidance of situations to keep my world with limited confusion or stress.

BLESSED is the caregiver who understands my secrets of communication when my speech is rambled, jumbled and scrambled. For they can lend me a smile, wink, or short embrace which helps me through my daily routine.

BLESSED is the caregiver who doesn’t raise his/her voice when I use poor social skills and manners. For they understand I have diminished control to recall the steps it takes to get ready for bed or to remember manners at the table.

BLESSED is the family for letting me frequently repeat my thoughts and deeds without expressing annoyance or frustration. For I only recall the resent question or thought or action I ask/say or do, due to short-circuiting of thoughts and actions in my dying brain.

BLESSED is the person who understands about my failing brain and helps me through the most basic learned tasks. For they assist me with bathing, dressing, eating, and walking. For they often have to hand me the right eating utensil or clothing item to wear, or even use repeated hand gestures to get me to “sit”.

BLESSED is my spouse who tolerated my blaming him/her when I can’t find the $50 I hid in my bible. I truly do not recall taking the money and conveniently placing it under a stack of magazines on the tool shelf! For I tend to become occupied with my losses.

BLESSED is my spouse who patiently guides me out of the closet and into the bathroom in the middle of the afternoon or evening. For he understands what becoming lost does to me. I can no longer associate where I am or who I am.

BLESSED are my family members who have so carefully and patiently pre-arranged for legal guidance and directions. For the many questions and concerns that involve withdrawing money from savings, or investing money can be now so quietly and calmly answered and signed without upsetting us both. And I no longer explode in anger from overload. Remember, I can no longer separately “real” from what is “fiction.”

BLESSED is my caregiver who no longer corrects me when I’m home and ask “to go home.” For to me, “home” no longer exists. “Home” was a time when life felt more comfortable. So for now I need that hug and reassurance that you’ll take care of me.

BLESSED are the people who so kindly give of themselves and the special support groups that are set up for families of victims with memory impairment. For they provide an opportunity for further learning, caring, sharing, and loving of Alzheimer’s victims. And….

BLESSED am I who have struggled through the illness with confusion and shame. For who I once was, I no longer am. And who you are I no longer know. But, it’s your gentle touch and voice that remind me of what I so miss. For only you can reach out and stand by me.