Apologia for these journals:
They are not about taking care of a relative with moderate to severe Alzheimer's/senile dementia.
For an explanation of what these journals are about, click the link above.
For internet sources that are about caring for relatives with moderate to severe
Alzheimer's/senile dementia, click through the Honorable Alzheimer's Blogs in my
links section to the right.
Over the last two weeks...
...I've gotten a couple of comments from a blogger named karen who writes about caring for her mother at home at Mom, Me and Alzheimer's. Today, (as I usually do, if the commenter has a blog) I clicked into her blog to orient myself. What a surprise! After reading a few recent posts I decided to read from the beginning of her archive up to her most recent post.
In one of her more recent posts she admits, "I am not a writer." But, you know, I am of the opinion that if you write with the intention of expressing yourself you're a writer, and, anyway, she writes in the short, succinct, meticulous, often harried, everyday conversational language of the home caregiver to An Ancient One with Alzheimer's, which makes her blog a delight to read for several reasons:
- It is chock full of all kinds of cobbled-together hints and suggestions to make caregiving easier and/or more comfortable for her mother and her. A lot of them have to do with food, drink and her mother's constantly changing nutritional peculiarities and challenges but there are loads of others, as well. The suggestions follow her day to day trials and what she's had to figure out in order to best yet another of the daily challenges.
- She's been taking care of her mother at home for well over two years. The blog begins a bit after discovering that her mother is eligible for Hospice care, which she states is not "EOL" (End of Life) hospice care. She talks a bit about how she could have used it and wishes she'd been told about it much sooner. Otherwise, in post after post she gives a clear, quotidian picture of what it is like to deal with hospice care at home.
- She follows many bloggers and other types of sites, several of which feature Alzheimer's and caregiving, and often posts about new bloggers she's found. She's also generous in passing on suggestions she's found valuable. Thus, her site is a good resource.
- She talks about home life in a realistic way, including insights into dynamics with extended family, things she does besides caregiving even though caregiving is clearly her primary and overwhelming concern and things she used to love to do and wishes she could do more.
- The family is financially strapped and she is forthright and detailed about what it is like to negotiate the extraordinary expense of caring for an elder with Alzheimer's. She pulls absolutely no punches about equipment she wishes she could afford...then, talks about how she devises in home solutions that substitute for this equipment. She talks about price and value the way you would talk with your next door neighbor.
- She loves her mom and intimately describes her and her mom's interrelationship and how Alzheimer's affects it. She also sneaks in bits about things her mother used to do. It is easy to see that she is taking care of a formidable woman, appreciates this about her, hates what Alzheimer's is doing to her mom but loves the woman to whom this is happening.
- She is frank about her experiences with institutional care in regard to her mother and continues to use it, out of necessity.
I haven't, in a couple of years, spent much time looking for caregiving blogs, let alone reading them, for obvious reasons. I'm glad, though, this woman crossed my path. One of the things I'd been mourning is that almost all the caregiving blogs I frequented have become frozen in time at the death of the care recipient, which is understandable. But, people, caregiving continues, in even greater numbers than before. I've decided to add karen to the links list at the right and reorganize my Honorable Alzheimer's Blogs list into "Static" (have stopped since the death of the care recipient) and "Current" (continue, even since the death of the care recipient, in some cases) blogs, for obvious reasons. Not that I believe the "Static" blogs are any less valuable but the fact that the care recipient has died gives the blog a different tone, I think. karen's blog will be the first in the list of "Current" blogs, in honor of her blog giving me the idea.
karen, thanks for blogging. You have no idea how valuable is your "I-am-not-a-writer" contribution to the literature of caregiving. And, by the way, you most certainly are a writer, one that I like and will continue to follow!
I enjoyed reading your post about her.
My blog has continued past my mother's passing as I find my experience didn't end when she died.
Iíve linked to your site in this monthís edition of Palliative Care Grand Rounds.
Check it out here:
All material, except that not written by me, copyright at time of posting by Gail Rae Hudson