Dementia: Throw Away the To Do List

I’m a Type A personality. On the DISC personality study, I am a low D and a HIGH I. I want things done yesterday. Don’t wait. I want order. I want plans. I want all the canned goods in the kitchen cabinet turned the same way. (Maybe that is carrying things a little too far??)

It is not unusual to see a To Do List on my desk at work. It helps keep me organized and on task. However, a To Do List when it comes to caring for my mother just doesn’t work. Momma has mid-stage Alzheimer’s. She thinks slowly, she moves slowly, she conveys her thoughts ever so slowly. I can be in a hurry, and I can have a long To Do List, but Momma is just going to move at the pace she can. That pace doesn’t necessarily make me jump with joy, but I have learned to adapt.

Today I suggested Momma retrieve a lightweight jacket before we left her house. I stood at the door and waited…and waited…and waited…. You get the drift! Finally, I decided she had been abducted by aliens, so I went to check on her. She was just coming out of the closet with a jacket and was happy as a lark. I could have said, “What took you so long? Didn’t you know I was waiting at the door?” That, however, would have only hurt my Momma. Hurting Momma is something I avoid at all costs.

Instead, I commented how well the jacket matched her shirt, and we proceeded to leave her home.

To Do Lists are great, but if they are causing you to stress out while you are caregiving, have a bonfire and dispose of the lists. Now relax and enjoy your loved one.

Hope that gives you Something to Ponder.

Photo via Flickr

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